Thursday, November 10, 2011

Looky what I found...

It was so close to home, too. {smile}

Monday, October 3, 2011

The name's Koda...Ko-da.

Sadly, our 11 year old border collie, Bandit passed away a few weeks ago. I haven't cried that much in quite awhile. Such an awful feeling, losing a pet. 

Our house just isn't complete without a dog, and as luck would have it, a border collie breeder was just up the road with one pup left. Was that destiny, irony, coincidence? I'm not sure, but we welcomed Koda into our family. We needed his energy, his curiosity, his sweetness, his...puppiness. As my son quite correctly said, "He stole our hearts."

So watch for more posts on this little one. He's very smart, and has already discovered he can herd our cats. This is going to be interesting. 

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Say Cheese!

For lunch today, I had Baked Caprese Salad. Now, you may look at this and say "That's not salad." But just go with it...I think it's an Italian thing. The bread is just a big crouton, right? Riiiight....Anyway, this is what Giada De Laurentiis calls it and so am I. 

Photographing our food is so popular these days. We all do it. We go to a fancy restaurant, and when our flaming Baked Alaska comes we say "Hold on! Let me get my camera!" - while the waiter is suffering from third degree burns. 

I do think it's an art form and photog's like Catherine Murray at Photo Kitchen do it amazingly well. Catherine contributes regularly to Edible Columbus, and she was recently featured in one of my favorite blogs Design Sponge. Check out her portfolio here. Her garlic scapes are gorgeous. 

So, how did I do? Are you hungry? Good, because I've got baked alaska for dessert.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Just Peachy

Yes, peaches come in a can, but not in this house, not this year. 

My son and I LOVE peaches and since my blackberry jam turned out okay I thought I would try canning peaches for us to enjoy throughout the rest of the year. 

I saw a post on one of my favorite blogs about peaches here. For some reason this inspired me into craziness so I bought a half bushel of seconds for $13 at my local fruit farm. She said seconds are usually better for canning because they're cheaper and you can always cut around the worm holes (hope I got them all - wink). That's about 50 peaches. Yeah, 50. 

I think I must have been delirious...I mean, who am I kidding? Sure, the blackberries turned out okay, but I'm "not martha" (actual blog!) I needed help, and I needed it fast. So, I enlisted my Mom. All knowing, all seeing, experienced in all things canning...except Peaches. But we're smart girls, how difficult can it be? With peach pits flying, peach juice running down my arm and an occasional peach ninja (Dom) coming in to steal a bite, we didn't do too bad (no one lost a finger - always good). We filled (5) 1-quart jars and (7) 1-pint freezer bags. 

Now to find recipes for all of these peaches. Hmmm...peach schnapps, anyone?

Friday, August 19, 2011


What I love:
Looking and truly seeing the beauty around me.
What I love more: 
When my children see it too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Morning, Sunshine

I love these cool, sunny mornings. Anything seems possible. 
I feel I can get so many things done on mornings like this. 
But of course, I don't, because I'm overwhelmed by said possibilities.
So, I think I'll just enjoy the morning. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Free Scone

I got a free scone yesterday! I was all ready to pay for it and I got the tap on the hand and a "Don't worry about." I was like..."What? No, really. Here, please take my money." A wink and a smile and she was off to the next customer. Amazing. I was elated! It wasn't really about the free scone, though, it was more about that singular, random act of kindness. The feeling it gave me was so wonderful. It made me...happy

{side note: That scone wasn't cheap. Or was delicious.}

Go make someone happy...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I'm coining this new term because I feel that recycling and upcycling just do not define what I see here. Maybe I should add it to Wikipedia - what do ya think?
de•sign•cy•cle -verb 
1.The process of converting waste materials into new creative designed materials or products that rock!
de•sign•cy•cler -noun
1. The cool people who design, produce or purchase these products.
priorLIFE is one such example of a designcycler. Last year at this time I was visiting my in-laws on Lake Leelanau near Traverse City, Michigan and I found an unusual looking bag at The Painted Bird in Sutton's Bay. I immediately bought a huge 24"x 12" tote bag thinking it would be great to cram in all of our pool/beach stuff. It was so cool - lots of color, some typography that I couldn't quite make out, graphic of some sort. All together a very wicked design. What really made this bag unique was its story. In its prior life it was a banner at a festival. It told me so right on the label. 
Once I determined that this product was not only a great design piece but had an awesome story...I wanted another one. So with priorLIFE being based in Traverse City (gasp!) and me just being up there for the Fourth of July (double gasp!), I decided to pop in to see how they were made.  I contacted Jenn Ryan, their fabulous Brand Ambassador, to schedule a tour of the facility. Here's a little video they did to show you how they make them...
The companies that buy from Britten Banners send their used banners back to priorLIFE to make into bags for either their own marketing purposes or for priorLIFE to sell online and selected retailers. 
Jenn was nice enough (crazy more like it) to let us view their inventory. I certainly didn't walk away empty handed. It took all the ever-loving will power I had not to grab everything in sight. Oh and the choices! Different colors and typographies and graphics each one truly unique! Of course, my mother-in-law, an extremely talented pastel artist and designcycler herself, came along. (sidenote: check out her website here - shameless family plug.) Between the two of us we certainly did some damage. 

Check them out on their websitefacebook and twitter and if you purchase online before July 31, 2011 you'll get 15% off with this exclusive code: TOSOTC (The Other Side Of The Creek - duh). Now I do have to make a disclaimer that unless you visit one of their retailers either at The Painted Bird in Sutton's Bay or in Traverse City at Golden Shoes you'll not get to select exactly the color and design. Each priorLIFE™ product is truly unique with its colors being determined at random based on the banner from which it was created. But you can put in your preferences and they will do the best they can to accommodate. 

So go ahead, save the environment and at the same time look chic as you...designcycle. (haha - seriously, doesn't that deserve to be in Wikipedia?)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wish Makers

Here's wishing all your dreams come true. Now blow...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Self Acceptance Day

Well, not officially, although it should be. I think we all need a day like this to come to terms with who we are. We need to embrace our idiosyncrasies, our craziness, our normalcies...ourselves. So many times you feel the need to change the things that may not be seen as normal. I think we just need to accept these distinctive qualities and harness it all for good. These are things I know about myself, good and maybe not so great, but definitely not bad. The not so great first...
  1. I'm obsessive compulsive, but it comes in waves and usually when I'm cleaning or gardening...die weeds! Once I start something I usually can't stop, even when I know I'm knee deep in poison ivy (and I'm highly allergic). 
  2. I hate won't see this girl on "Hoarder's - Buried Alive", unless it's featuring my husband's office. That was the only room that I wouldn't touch but my OCD kicked in and I finally broke down and got him organized. See? Harness for good.
  3. I'm a bird nerd. There I said it. This feels good! This one isn't really a "not so great" quality but more of a "it is what it is" quality. But since this one is in the middle of my list maybe you won't read it. We are all busy so maybe you'll read the top two and the bottom two and won't even see this one. I'm not sure why I'm embarrassed about this because birds are pretty cool. I especially like Blue Birds and Indigo Buntings. Have I listed that I have ADD yet?
  4. I'm pretty sure I have Attention Deficit Disorder. I'm not sure if it's because I can become bored easily and then something catches my eye (or ear) and I'm off on another thought or if it's just lack of focus all together. I seem to focus well on the important "work" tasks (in case a co-worker/client is reading this) but normal every day stuff will take me in many directions in a day.  So if you see me out in a social setting and I cut you off in mid-sentence, please know it's nothing against your excellent conversational skills.
  5. When I'm mad I'll either completely shut down and not talk to that person (i.e. my poor husband) for days or I will explode and yell and scream. Not sure which is healthier and its rare that I get mad but when I do it's usually because of a difference in parenting styles or just lack of patience. Which leads me to no. 6...
  6. I am a confused girl. Some days I can have loads of patience and will let the kids run amok through the house and other days I am not even able to control myself. I will take a simple objective that I've set my mind to and hold on to it (amid extremely reasonable protests) like a rabid dog with a piece of meat. Why can't I let it go? Not sure. Control freak? I'm not that crazy - haha - denial!
Okay, time for a few good points. I'm pretty sure I have these...
  1. I believe we all have good intentions. Whether something along the way happens to influence us otherwise, or there are circumstances beyond our control, we intended no harm. I'm sure this is naive, but I have to operate this way or I will become too cynical. I will let the cynicism take it's natural course when I'm an old woman (that's going to be fun!)
  2. Does making lists count here? I make lists of things to do, of things we need at the store, of chores for the kids, for work, for the garden, lists of my good and not so good points (haha)...I have lists everywhere. I guess this would count here as long as I cross things off and get things done, right? 
  3. I'm creative. My OCD sometimes gets in the way of producing though. "Let me just clean my desk before I get started on that watercolor. I might as well clean my office while I'm at it. - Damn it's time to make dinner." {sigh} I'm an interior designer and this is a great quality to have when you need to manage a project but when you want to explore new media it's very difficult. I think that's why I've been more into photography. You can have the creative eye, but then there is the manipulation of the photo, and the organization of your photo files and then the selection of which to print and frame. Someday, I'll paint...
  4. I'm faithful...committed. Once I have vowed these things I will not stray. I can't guarantee I won't throw a quick glance sideways but I will always turn quickly back. OCD vs ADD... keeps me in balance. 
  5. Well I've been told I'm friendly and outgoing. I will talk with just about anyone and usually find something we have in common. I think we all have something interesting to say and I want to know what it is.
  6. a cat. Until I had cats, I wasn't really sure how curious cats where. I'm really surprised I haven't had a cat until now. We are quite similar, now that I think about it. They can be OCD and ADD and unpredictable but they are not list makers. I wonder what would be on their list if they could make one. 
  7. I just have to have one more good quality than the not so good. So I can admit I am a very positive person. I would hope that being around me makes you look at the brighter side of things and I try to be positive in any situation. Negativity will only bring you down and there's no reason for that. Ever.
I will admit that this is a comprehensive list. There is much more, but it's already the longest post I've written. So for all of my ADD friends who are reading this - go to to the top and read it all - no skimming! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

To Do Today...

Monday morning. It was tough getting out of bed. With the rain hitting the open window and the cool breeze softly blowing, it only made me want to snuggle down deep. The sounds of kids giggling and kitties meowing reminded me there were things to do. 

I actually look forward to Mondays. It's my day to plan and to organize myself. I love that. I make my lists for work and home and hopefully I've crossed off at least half for the day. Sometimes I'll even write a task down, not on the list, just to cross it off. {grin}

Motivation usually comes easier with a bright, sunny day, so I'm not too optimistic about that list. Kids and kitties are fed...I think I hear my bed calling.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Complicated? No.   Beautiful? To me.

One thing I know and that's design. I was an interior designer as soon as I was old enough to move the furniture around in my room. Just ask my mom how many bedroom layouts are possible in 10 x 10 room. A lot. I even decided to forgo the bed and just put the mattress and box spring on the floor. Bohemian style, before I even knew what that meant. 

So even as I start fresh with a new media, I feel I have an understanding of form, light, color and texture that I can rely on when looking for subject matter. I am constantly drawn to flowers and the variety they all have as it relates to these four elements. I know it's not the most innovative subject, let's face it, we have been photographing flowers for years, but it's what I love and shouldn't that be enough?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cute Overload

One of mine, and my kids, favorite websites is Cute Overload. Utterly adorable pics of the cutest baby animals you'll ever see. I can always tell when the kids are on the site because I hear the sweetest exclamations of "awwwwwww!" and "Ohhhhh- how cute!!!" The kids don't always get it, but the pics are accompanied by equally adorable and funny commentary. On a recent visit to a local farm here in Mount Vernon, I think I took a few pictures of my own adorable baby animals {minus the funny commentary}. Get ready to say "Awwwwww!!!"

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Yoga Me

I have been lucky enough lately, to have found some time for myself. This is very important if you want to keep your sanity as a mom, wife, business partner, housecleaner, chef...should I go on? What I wanted to do with this time was concentrate on getting myself fit again. It's been a long winter, very long. I have typically been the type of person who needs guidance or a little push to keep on track. Personal trainers are perfect but in this time in my career, way too expensive. I thought maybe a class with a few great friends would keep me motivated to go and with an instructor present would keep me honest (no slacking). So with the help of LivingSocial who happened to have a 50% off on yoga near me, I took advantage of the manna from heaven - which those group coupon sites really offer (except when all you get is teeth whitener deals).

Yoga is not what you would think of when thinking of getting fit, but if you choose the right one - and yes, there are a lot to choose from and not all are my cup of tea, but we'll get to that later {wink} - I have found the muscles can be just as sore the next day. I have tried yoga before so I thought I was little more experienced than the beginner course they offered, so my first class was Hatha. This type of yoga was originally practiced to focus on getting your body prepared for deep meditation. It is extremely beneficial for stretching your muscles and "opening" your joints. There is more meditation in Hatha than I want for truly getting back into shape but this is wonderful at the beginning of your weekly workout or yoga routine. I would like to try a more intense yoga like Vinyasa, where you are constantly moving from one pose to another in time with your breathing. 
Dominic meditating in Sedona, Arizona
One of my very good friends and gym sauna buddies, Shawnie, asked me if I wanted to try Bikram yoga or Hot yoga. Her bubbly personality and winning smile had me at "Hot" - Ohio has not been playing nice lately and the thought of anything warm had me saying - "Okay, sure!". If you've never heard of this type of yoga, it's where a few crazy people practice slower paced yoga poses in a room set at 105 degrees.  If I had REALLY known what this was like I might have laughed hysterically at her, but I'm a trusting friend. She wasn't going to kill me...was she? 

My first thoughts when entering this sauna of a room was "aahhhh - I could get used to this." Then the instructor explained we would be in there for 90 minutes. Hmmmm. That seems long, but I'm doing okay so far. Five minutes in I felt this odd sensation. Is that a bead of sweat making its way down my arm? Fantastic! Never felt that before. First pose and my heart is beating pretty heavy. I can handle this. After about 30 minutes my eyes are starting to roll back in my head. I look at myself in the mirror and I see no dry spots on my clothes. There is a woman in front of me that looks like a mountain in spring, water pouring off of her. Unfortunately, because this is a high concentration effort to maintain your breathing and your poses, you cannot stop to wipe off or get a drink until the "designated" (yup) breaks. 

I can no longer stand. I have to sit down and catch my breath but there is no relief. I feel suffocated. The heat is so oppressing I start to feel a panic attack coming on. I look at Shawnie and she is on the ground too. There is NO way we are making it the full 90 minutes. What were thinking? I could say the next thing we did was a wimpy, weak, no intestinal-fortitude (4th grade gym class teacher word) move. But honestly, I think we were the only sane ones there. We raised our hands like good students, asked to leave, and booked it out of there. I swear the woman by the back door moaned when we gave her a little breather as we opened the door. "Once you leave, there is no coming back." -our instructor said. Like we wanted to! Hahaha! We were free! We were definitely the smart ones of that test group. No more Bikram for me, but I can say I did it, like swimming with sharks. Once is enough.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jones'n For Some Color

{Wild Phlox}
Spring should have been here by now it seems.
Please come soon, I need you.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Digital Dog Ear..

I have shelves of my favorite magazines...Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Travel & Leisure, Cooking Light and various interior design industry mags. I can't bear to throw them away (and by throw away, I mean recycle, of course). 

They all have small dog eared corners on the pages of my favorite ideas in the hopes that some day I will go back to them and use the creativity and inspiration I found among them. I have done that here and there but always had trouble finding that one idea I remembered I wanted to try among the stacks.  
This is the same with the internet. With so much information out there, inspiration may flash across the screen in a split second. We can bookmark a site but don't remember what was so great about it. I recently found a site that reverses that idea. It highlights the object of inspiration for the visual effect while allowing you to find it again with its web address.
Pinterest is a unique way of organizing, cataloging and categorizing our wants, needs, ideas and inspirations. You create a design board or two, or three or 40 (there is no limit that I've seen) and while you are surfing the web you select images and "Pin It" to your board. You can follow other boards and "Repin" interesting images from someone else's or make comments on a particularly inspiring photo or image. These boards can be private or can be open to the community. 
I see such potential using this site in a creative business environment or just for the personal corralling of your thoughts. 

Check out My Pinterest boards, maybe they will inspire you.