While you were sleeping…

…here’s what you missed at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Well, just about everything, considering South Korea is 16 hours ahead. Does this mean…oh, never mind.

 

 

Olympism is not only screeching down slopes, divinely dancing on ice, or “hurry hard-er”.  Olympism is a philosophy of life. It means balancing all the qualities of the body, will and mind. Olympians are truly committed to their sport, living with utmost dedication and perseverance, refusing to say the word, “can’t. 

How can we even start to describe them? Amazing, incredible, overwhelming, breathtaking, astonishing?
 

For most of us, we consider ourselves an Olympian if we: Finish Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past”

Finish Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past and NOT bringing it up every chance we get, showing real restraint

Buy, cook, and eat a vegetable more than twice a week

File our income taxes on time (April 30)

Pushing someone out of the snowbank

Pushing someone out of the snowbank that other time

Holding the door

Not holding the revolving door

Being human can be a stronger force than our best intentions.
 
 

But it’s not always about the gold. Although we would have preferred another one for Women’s Hockey.It’s now about the “mix”. Like SILVER with Gold. Alas.

In interiors, it’s now about incorporating and mastering different metal finishes in each room. Changing up metals and colours is visually interesting and gives rooms more flexibility and depth.

Variety is the key.
 

As they say, too much of one thing is not a good thing. Unless of course, it’s the comfort of a beach chair and a good book – preferably by the beach.
As Democritus said…Who?

Some Greek guy. 

A life without festivity is a long road without an inn.”

By the way, someone told me that there is a 96% chance of getting eaten while sitting at the water’s edge in a beach chair munching on red liquorice.

Now I’m wondering why I decided that this person was the gospel truth considering how little I remember about the source and the actual information.
 

 

Getting it right is an art, not a science. And when it’s done well, it’s couch-jumping exciting. Just like yesterday’s hockey game, or was it tomorrow’s? 

We no longer fret over every door hinge matching every light fixture. The “mix” is about abandoning rules and being creative. Mixing metals is an effortless way to make pieces looks like they have been collected over the years, instead of being freshly unloaded from the IKEA delivery truck!

I have no idea why I put an exclamation point at the end of the most unexciting word in the world.

Like 3 different silver pendents over an island.

Like a brushed silver framed picture hanging over the edges of a sideboard with gold handles.

Like blending a high end brass piece with a flea market find in burnished nickel.

 

Put the Pedal to the Metal

It’s best though, to choose a dominant metal, the one you want to be most prominent in your space, Then select one or two metal accents to augment the look. For example if your living room has a brushed nickel light fixture, add in some burnished gold pieces for a warm glow and charm.Or if your kitchen hardware is brushed nickel, choose a light fixture in burnished gold or bronze. 
 
 

Is almost everything in your room white? Add in a chrome table or pendent for a metallic balance. Gorgeous.
 

Don’t think that metals are only in hardware and light fixtures. Look around the room. There can also be metal stair railings, picture frames, artwork, lamp bases, sculptures, decorative vases, boxes and plates – all to be considered in the great scheme of things.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to mix warm (gold, brass, rubbed bronze and copper) tones with cool ones (brushed nickel, stainless steel, chrome, aluminum, iron, and silver), although you should consider your colour scheme before deciding on which metals to use. A rule of thumb is to use warm metal with warm hues, and conversely cool metals with cool hues. In neutral rooms with cooler tones like gray, the room can come to life using warm metals.
 

It has you right at hello.

The last trick is to mix up the textures, using at least two, whether it be matte, burnished, oiled, polished or hammered to create a bit of life, soul and more character. 
Anyways, for those who lack the intuition or are confused and have no idea what I am talking about, call me and I’ll be happy to come over.

After the Olympics.
But that would also require me to get out of my pyjamas and make small talk.

Go Canada!

While you were sleeping…

While you were sleeping, 

…here’s what you missed at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Well, just about everything, considering South Korea is 16 hours ahead. Does this mean…oh, never mind.

Olympism is not only screeching down slopes, divinely dancing on ice, or “hurry hard-er”.  Olympism is a philosophy of life. It means balancing all the qualities of the body, will and mind. Olympians are truly committed to their sport, living with utmost dedication and perseverance, refusing to say the word, “can’t. How can we even start to describe them? Amazing, incredible, overwhelming, breathtaking, astonishing?
 
For most of us, we consider ourselves an Olympian if we: Finish Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past”

Finish Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past and NOT bringing it up every chance we get, showing real restraint

Buy, cook, and eat a vegetable more than twice a week

File our income taxes on time (April 30)

Pushing someone out of the snowbank

Pushing someone out of the snowbank that other time

Holding the door

Not holding the revolving door

Being human can be a stronger force than our best intentions.
 
But it’s not always about the gold. Although we would have preferred another one for Women’s Hockey.It’s now about the “mix”. Like SILVER with Gold. Alas.

In interiors, it’s now about incorporating and mastering different metal finishes in each room. Changing up metals and colours is visually interesting and gives rooms more flexibility and depth.

Variety is the key.
 

As they say, too much of one thing is not a good thing. Unless of course, it’s the comfort of a beach chair and a good book – preferably by the beach.
As Democritus said…Who?

Some Greek guy. 

A life without festivity is a long road without an inn.”

By the way, someone told me that there is a 96% chance of getting eaten while sitting at the water’s edge in a beach chair munching on red liquorice.

Now I’m wondering why I decided that this person was the gospel truth considering how little I remember about the source and the actual information.
 

Getting it right is an art, not a science. And when it’s done well, it’s couch-jumping exciting. Just like yesterday’s hockey game, or was it tomorrow’s? We no longer fret over every door hinge matching every light fixture. The “mix” is about abandoning rules and being creative. Mixing metals is an effortless way to make pieces looks like they have been collected over the years, instead of being freshly unloaded from the IKEA delivery truck!

I have no idea why I put an exclamation point at the end of the most unexciting word in the world.

Like 3 different silver pendents over an island.

Like a brushed silver framed picture hanging over the edges of a sideboard with gold handles.

Like blending a high end brass piece with a flea market find in burnished nickel.

 

Put the Pedal to the Metal
It’s best though, to choose a dominant metal, the one you want to be most prominent in your space, Then select one or two metal accents to augment the look. For example if your living room has a brushed nickel light fixture, add in some burnished gold pieces for a warm glow and charm.Or if your kitchen hardware is brushed nickel, choose a light fixture in burnished gold or bronze. 
 
Is almost everything in your room white? Add in a chrome table or pendent for a metallic balance. Gorgeous.
 
Don’t think that metals are only in hardware and light fixtures. Look around the room. There can also be metal stair railings, picture frames, artwork, lamp bases, sculptures, decorative vases, boxes and plates – all to be considered in the great scheme of things.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to mix warm (gold, brass, rubbed bronze and copper) tones with cool ones (brushed nickel, stainless steel, chrome, aluminum, iron, and silver), although you should consider your colour scheme before deciding on which metals to use. A rule of thumb is to use warm metal with warm hues, and conversely cool metals with cool hues. In neutral rooms with cooler tones like gray, the room can come to life using warm metals.
 
It has you right at hello.
The last trick is to mix up the textures, using at least two, whether it be matte, burnished, oiled, polished or hammered to create a bit of life, soul and more character. 
Anyways, for those who lack the intuition or are confused and have no idea what I am talking about, call me and I’ll be happy to come over.

After the Olympics.
But that would also require me to get out of my pyjamas and make small talk.

Go Canada!

Suspended until further notice

It’s almost Valentine’s Day.

Otherwise known as the day of mismanaged expectations and mysterious chocolates that nobody really enjoys.

This is the once-a-year event where LOVE is widely acclaimed in Hallmark cards, a dozen red roses, brown paper packages wrapped up in string, and a 9:30 p.m. dinner reservation because a certain someone forgot to make a reservation  – in January.

 

https://www.rosedeluxe.ca/product/large-round-rose-deluxe-arrangement/
 

And by the way, if you are looking for the perfect gift, nothing says romance better than a book on parenting.

My favourite Swiss-born British philosopher, Alain de Botton, and probably the only Swiss-born British philosopher, says that LOVE is a benevolent process whereby two people try to teach each other how to become the best versions of themselves. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ6K_f7oSdg
 

I mean, until yesterday I really thought that the best version of myself was determined by two things:

1. Am I in my pyjamas, teeth brushed, and home for the night by 8:00 p.m.?

2. Are my reading glasses on the kitchen counter where I swear I left them?

Modify your remarks accordingly.

But then I found out that someone, somewhere, has started a Movement. A Coffee Movement. The Suspended Coffees Movement.

http://www.metronews.ca/news/calgary/2013/04/12/suspended-coffee-trend-reaches-calgary.html
Apparently, the spirit and ambition of the Suspended Coffees Movement is supported by thousands of cafés around the world, places that are at the hub of local communities, serving suspended coffees (and more) and sharing goodwill and compassion every day.

We have one in Calgary.

 

YOU: How do you take your coffee?

ME:   Seriously. Very seriously.

Looking for Connection
Valentine’s Day is a day that ritualizes Connection. Now and more than ever before, there is a wonting need for connection.A need for Love. Attention. Presence. Coffee. 

 

truthfacts.com
 

We are now at a time when 22-character text messages pass for conversation.

We Tweet, Whatsapp, YouTube, Tumblr, Gmail, Instagram, Google, Skype, Viber, Snapchat, Pin, LinkedIn, Flickr, and Meetup (My Google-ing found no less than 61 social networking portals), and collect practical strangers as “Friends” on Facebook, while compulsively checking for “likes” as if we were checking for a pulse in a heart attack patient.

Coffee shops can be as impersonal as they come. Patrons sit entranced, mesmerized, addicted to their cold, unloving glow of their laptop or smartphone screen.

The other day I saw this guy at Starbucks. He didn’t have an iPhone, iPad, or laptop. He was just sitting there. Drinking coffee. Like a sociopath.

 

Everyone seen close up, has an appalling amount wrong with their character. We don’t need or should expect people to be perfect.

We just need them to be able to, in good time, show us their imperfections, accept that they can be difficult companions, and admit that sometimes their conversational powers will ignore time and embrace eternity.
I would although, entreat you to be cautious about inviting mates round who have a propensity to take photos of traffic circles, collect brown street signs, and are fascinated by the historical impact of variations in susceptibility to syphilis across native south American populations.
We need to accept that love is rocky and bumpy at the best of times. And that’s after their morning coffee.

Flawed as we all are, that’s about the best we can manage. The secret is low expectations.

This is a philosophy predicated that might incline people to lose the will to live. Especially in this cold.
This is a philosophy predicated that might incline people to lose the will to live.

Especially in this snow.

 

 

Now I need to tell you this from the deepest part of my heart and soul…I forgot what I was going to say.

Right.

Self-love at its very core is self-acceptance; the commendable and the not-so-commendable parts of yourself — knowing that you are enough as you are (with a few minor improvements).

Many say that you have to be happy with yourself before you can find happiness with someone else, but I find that notion extremely disappointing.

And you can’t make everyone happy, you’re not pizza.

I also have mixed drinks about feelings.
 

Available at the Glenbow Museum Gift Store, Calgary
 

You have nothing to prove. All you need to do is be the very best version of yourself and to give of yourself to others. It is about understanding that you, everyone, and everything — matters.

 
We need to live with Hearts Before Agendas and Lives Ahead of Schedules.
Imagine if we all just loved others and ourselves for who they/we are.

Imagine if we honoured our heart’s desires and told each other and ourselves the Truth with a capital “T”, not our version of the truth. 

Imagine if we stopped thinking about our little problems and lived in the present with faith, hope and then in surrender. There is no “was” – only “is”.

Imagine if we forgave others — and then ourselves.

Imagine if we were kind to others — and ourselves.
 

Denver, Colorado
 

There is only so much time to make love your life.

Your existence is a small temporary thing. Don’t leave this particular journey with regrets, or wallow in should have’scould have’s and wanted to’s.
 

I wish I’d fallen in love more often.

I wish I had traveled more.

I wish I had jumped in more puddles.

I wish I had gone on more walks.

I wish I would have made more art. Danced more. Laughed more.

I wish I could have learned to spell “pterodactyl”.
 

Hong Kong
 

So go ahead.Sing out loud in the car with the windows down.

Dance in your living room.

Write yourself a love letter.

Throw a party. Maybe just for yourself.

Scribble, draw or write poetry.

Fill your house with flowers.

Read such good books that you lose track of time.

Paint your walls any colour you want. (Certain conditions have to be fulfilled.)

Sleep on crisp white sheets.

And go ahead, have sherry and chocolate cake for breakfast. In fact, eat whatever you want. Anytime. Any place.

By the way, don’t you just hate it when you go to the grocery store to buy organic vegetables, but when you get home you discover they are just ordinary donuts.
 

Everyday is a gift, especially if today was socks.

  

http://jackie-es.com/musings/the-designing-of-by-catherine-wingate.php
 

You will notice there is no mascara on this list, and that’s because I’m still looking for love in all the wrong places. (I have a gift for inventing fantasies with extraordinary speed.) And the state of things persisted.

So let’s change the world – one cup of kindness at a time.
 
Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria
 

P.S.  If I forget to tell you later, I had a good time tonight.

 

And no, there’s not any money on it.

Awkward silences and other inopportune moments

Fran Lebowitz said that the opposite of talking isn’t listening.

The opposite of talking is waiting.

For most of us, this is somewhere on the scale next to skydiving or attending someone else’s child’s recital.

She also said that there is no such thing as advice to the lovelorn, because if they took advice, they wouldn’t be lovelorn. Wise woman. 

 
There is a practice Australians call dadirrI. This is a type of deep listening: a listening in quiet and stillness that borders on the contemplative, letting your soul catch up with your body. 
Given we no longer have formal rites of passage in our cultures, we need this stillness of contemplation to change us.

After all, nothing is happening but the next breath.

Byron Bay, Australia

 

There are many ways we can listen deeply. 

We can stay warm and wrapped in our bedroom watching the fascinating movements of the stormy sky, admire a branch swaying in the breeze, or gaze at sunlight falling on the curtain.

We can be still or walk in nature: listening to the song of birds, the snow crunching under our feet, or look at the visuals of trees and changing sky.

 

“We must go out and re-ally ourselves to Nature every day. We must make root, send out some little fibre at least, even every winter day.”
                                                                                      –
Henry David Thoreau
Going nowhere, as Leonard Cohen described it, was the grand adventure that makes sense of everywhere else. It is also a way of falling in love with the world over and over.Finding these moments of interstices or a half hour walk in nature can change the nature of all the other hours.

We Western world adults say that we don’t have time to be still, we aren’t good at it, it’s not for us. But that my dear, is precisely why meditation and stillness is called a practice. Like any skill, we must take the time and practice to be good at it.

While many would term boring, Bertrand Russell would call “fruitful monotony” and essential for happiness.
 

“A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men…of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers, as though they were cut flowers in a vase.”                                              – Bertrand Russell

There is, in fact, such a thing as going to a place, and not actually being there. But don’t forget to drink water and get plenty of sunlight because you’re basically a plant with more complicated emotions.

 

Eyries, Ireland

 

Nature constantly shows us there is no urgency, that all will disappear and return in its own time. Changes in nature happen on the scale of centuries.

The incidents of our lives are not terribly important and today will essentially be the same as tomorrow, unless orange becomes a properly appropriate colour for a sofa. 

 

St John’s, Newfoundland

 

Incidentally, it may horrify you to know that contrary to popular opinion and the multitude of over-exposed photos on Facebook, hardly anyone cares about what you are doing, how you perfectly iced those mint chocolate-chip cupcakes, or where you are spending your holidays this year.
 
 

And there is no point getting tetchy about how your table-mate holds their knife and fork, or being worried that the delivery people left a small scratch on your new coffee table, or that hatchet-throwing will become an Olympic sport. None of this is of any importance against the enormity of the places of nature.

You are here now. Everything passes.
By the way, it may be helpful to watch The Discovery Channel that exposes an infinite variety of ‘natural’ adaptions so you can stop worrying about the odd social behaviour of your friends.

Reality is not what it seems.

Arches National Park, Utah

 

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity. – Simone Weil

We can also practice dadirrI by listening to another: not hurrying, remembering that there is nothing more important than what you are attending to. Dadirri listening is non-judgemental, accepting, and whole-hearted. It is about waiting and not asking questions.
I know. I know. For most of us in this addictive age of hyper screen time where every minute 4,166,667 people are “liking a Facebook post, thinking about being still makes you as nervous as a bushy tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
And I mean this in the best possible way.

 

 

I duly recognize the fact that this is coming from someone who’s adage is ~“If everyone would listen to me, they would always be right.“, and who owns a coffee cup that says ~ “Everyone is entitled to my opinion.” 

And yes, it matters immensely that the chairs are arranged symmetrically around a table; that napkins need to match the placemats; that no intelligent person could think you only use a chopping board to cut a loaf of bread; and that clearly, it is quite acceptable to visit five art galleries on a holiday.

I have noted the need for some interpersonal techniques for possible future use.

 

Wonder makes a wonderful life.

 

Whatever we need to do to bring us to stillness every day, this sacrament of pause ~ walking, painting, journaling, needlework, listening to music, watching clouds ~ this is the thing we must do.

You want to get in the habit of pausing when something beautiful and good catches your attention ~ the sound of rain, a glorious sunset, a child’s smile, a porcelain tea cup, a kindness bestowed, a fridge stocked with kale…

Pause, then totally immerse in the experience of savoring it.

Well, maybe not the kale.

Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

 

As Anne Lamont quips, almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you. 
 
Pentimento. A way of seeing and then seeing again.

 

It may be, said the French moralist Joseph de Maistre, that the key lies in not to seek out what is actually new, but to bring a fresh mindset to what we already know but have forgotten to notice.

We can cultivate the habit and awareness to see things (and people) anew as if we had never laid eyes on them before, so that their worth and beauty can again become apparent to us.

I would although, caution you not to spend an evening perusing your high school yearbook. This item does not fit into either category.

What we do need is people whose attention is not caught up in the trends of the moment and who are not looking in the same direction as everyone else. We need people who are paying attention and scanning the less familiar parts of the world, if only in their own backyard or living room. 

 

 

This may be the moment where you are tempted to tell me about how the Instapot has changed your life, but I will confess that I am skeptical of the Instapot. It can probably cook rice in under six minutes and defrost an entire turkey in a single bound, but I’m clearly not an early adopter of cooking technology because my main concern is that it’s going to make my kitchen smell funny.Let’s treat the phenomenon of not being interested with cautious respect.

I’ve been wondering how I could make the leap from Instapots to interiors.

It’s now quite obvious that I’m not entirely successful.

For all of us on Earth School, “Done” is not the goal. Like Not Done Ever.

We, and our home, should be able to accommodate things without messing up some grand scheme. Like, “Should I put matching frames on my pictures?” “Should I buy a loveseat instead of two occasional chairs?” “Should I take sword fighting lessons?” “Where do I put the new baby?” “Should I finish reading this blog?”

Once in a while we should take a look at the whole picture ~ our past and our present. We need to contemplate what we have learned from our mistakes and what gift we have gained?

And by the way, don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Speaking of pictures and still on the topic of stillness, Everything You Want To Know About Hanging Pictures But Were Afraid to Ask, is as follows. Yes, another great leap across the narrow chasm.Picture hanging has dramatically changed over the past few years. Now almost anything goes. As long as it works.

Where we used to hang art gallery style within an inch of its life (most pictures lined up), now it is rare to hang art like this, and not as interesting.

Where once the two-thirds rule was gospel, now we oversize by having a large piece use up most of the wall  ~ or float a small piece on a large wall.

As long as it works.

 

Everything Does Not Need To Match

It is much more interesting if you don’t mix and match. In fact, I always try to display a few disparate items with the art, especially if you are doing a gallery wall or area: i.e. a key, a mask, a wooden letter or plaque. A gallery wall is chic when done well, but very easy to mess up.

To achieve a coherent result, keep the language of picture frames similar. For example, an oil painting in a antique wood frame with black-and-white prints in wood gallery frames.

 

 

Everything Does Not Needs to be Symmetrical 

While it might be tempting, sometimes the opposite is what ends up looking best. Hang a smaller frame off-center from where you think it should be, or hang various pieces at slightly different heights to give it a more dynamic feel.

Avenue Magazine – February 2108

 

Dealing with a Large Wall

It is tempting to want to do a gallery wall on a large wall, but don’t be afraid of large-scale art. Although a gallery wall is personal and gives you an opportunity to hang all those small pieces of art hiding under your bed, large-scale art can be a wise investment. Not only is it a focal point, but it adds incredible drama to a room. 

 

 

Hang Art In Unexpected Places 

It’s common to hang art above a bed, sofa, and mantel, but think about hanging art in unexpected places like a powder room, the end of a long hallway, above a doorway, the inside of a stairwell, or the wall at the top or bottom of a stairwell. It is like a small surprise waiting every time you turn a corner.

 

Frame Art Professionally

If I never see another IKEA picture frame in my life, it will be too soon.

Without a doubt, the best trick for elevating your art and making it look more expensive is custom framing. As for the mats, the days of forest green, navy, burgundy and dusty rose is over. A good framer is paramount in helping you choose the perfect frame and matting.

It basically boils down to this. There is no such thing as an ugly picture or picture frame or mat colour. Just an inappropriate one. 

And by the way, don’t buy art to match your walls.

Buy art because you love it.

Falling into the Present

 
 

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.                                                                           – Ecclesiastes 3 and Pete Seeger

Fall is pressing upon us. it is a season of dropping off and falling away, shedding and letting go.I ponder this strata of desquamation. I look out my kitchen window and watch as golden curled leaves rain down bereft of even a wind puff, surrendering freely. The garden is withering to shades of drabness. Stalks shrivel and droop, giving themselves up to a job well done.

No matter our casualness, we feel the shift. 

A reminder that nothing lasts forever.
 
 

Autumn is  a time for moulting, for emptying.

It’s not a giving up, resignation, or lowering your standards, but a surrender to what is.

It’s a time when we look at the garden inside ourselves and tear or thin out everything that is not worthy of taking space in our heart.

It’s a time where we need to shuck off our old skins, drop them and walk away until they are unrecognizable.
 

 

There is a story told in Africa and India about how to catch a monkey. First they hollow out one end of a coconut and drop in a banana. Before long a monkey comes by, sees the banana, reaches his hand into the coconut, and grabs it. The monkey then discovers that he can’t get his hand out while holding onto the banana. The natives then pull a string attached to the other end of the coconut and capture the monkey.

Motivational speakers often use this story to inspire people to “let go” of their old perceptions, habits and thoughts, since in truth, the monkey was never trapped.

All the monkey had to do was to let go of the banana.
 

 
 

And the cell phone.

One of the biggest sources of our malcontent is not being able to let go. Instead, we hang onto things, jobs, relationships, and 70’s caftans because things don’t look as we want them to.  
 

 

Sometimes we can be like the hermit crab. There comes a day when the crab outgrows its shell. Then comes the risky moment called the moult when the crab is in between shells. Now the crab has two choices. One, to find a new shell or two, slip back into its old one because the new one is uncomfortable.
 

 

It really is about letting go of the out-lived – the parts that you loved and the parts that were painful, hopefully turning chaos into cadence.

Trying to keep everything the same is like trying to tell the leaves not to fall from the trees in autumn. 

I’m not necessarily thinking of old shoes, but simple things like bitterness, resentment, and the poison of unforgiveness.

Letting go is essential. But it’s not always easy.

Letting go takes work and requires us to do some serious introspection about what’s “True”, and what we’re actually attached to. There is a difference between the facts of a person and the truth of them. This something that has baffled scientists to no end.

However arduous it might be, it’s often a good idea to be honest with oneself. You do not want to sit by people at dinner that will not admit this.
 

Life never promised to keep us safe. It wasn’t designed that way and they don’t hand out manuals for the tough stuff.Life, however, does continue to hand us opportunities to become who we really are, to understand ourselves on a deeper level, and to experience the full breadth of human emotion.

 

 
 

Maybe the most important way to get the most out of life is the hard-earned mastery of giving yourself up to it.

Maybe the only way to get the most out of life is to simply feel what it is to be alive.

Maybe when we become more and more aware, and more and more still, is when we really can know what we want.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, adopt a tree.

Watch rigorously for one year. 
 

And the end of all of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.                                                                                        – T.S. Eliot  

Things come and go, nothing stays the same, and we can’t control most of the things we’d like to. 
Everything we love – places, possessions, and people – can, and very likely will, be eventually taken from us.Possibly the greatest gift we can give someone is that of detachment.

Attachment, even if we think it is selfless, lays some burden on the other person. When we think we are giving, we may actually be at the very least, asking for attention – another paradox of life. When we think we have nothing, there is always something. When something is taken away, there is always some permanence to be grateful for – friends, family, life-teachers, The Maldives, and dust mites.

What they leave in our soul is the only permanence we’ll ever know.

Except for dust mites. They stay under our couch.
 

 

Grace comes, but you don’t get to say when or how. Grace can be a wound that opens the beauty in us, a wound that lets light in through the heart-cracks. It’s the beauty of imperfection, of things that show their age and use. 

Scratches. Chips. Wrinkles.

In that sense, it’s just as important to continue defining who you are, as to continue eliminating who you are not.
 

 

Our homes have a memorializing function, and what they are helping us to remember is, strangely enough, ourselves.

Our home should be an honest reflection of ourselves that include family photos, items from our travels, and objects that have meaning for us. Because we all want such different things, we will all be pulled towards very different kinds of objects.

 

The key is to let go of the extraneous, the worn, the out-dated, the redundant, and the meaningless, with rapturous rigour and devotion.

Do you need six throw pillows on your sofa, or do 3 create just as much of an impact?

Do you need your collection of magazines from the past 7 years, or do 4 coffee table books achieve the same goal?

Do you really need 22 black teeshirts, or will 6 do?

Beer glasses? Spatulas? Jars of copper polish?

 

Today, make a commitment to drop a banana.

There has never been a more selfless selfish act. 

 

 

In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver  

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillarsof light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Thanks and Giving

 

You can’t always get what you want, but you always get what you need.

We are in the season of gratitude, and thank goodness for that. 

I don’t remember exactly how I got the idea. It could have been from Sarah ban Breathnach, Oprah, Jesus, or Jagmeet Singh, but fifteen years ago, all I knew is that I needed to do something. 

My life was in a complete 360 and I had no idea how to continue to live in beauty, life-deep. 

And on top of this, I lost my corkscrew and was compelled to live on food and water for several days.  
 

 
 

So I started a gratitude journal. Every night before bed, I diligently wrote down five things for which I was grateful.At first it wasn’t easy.Sometimes the best thing that happened to me that day was finding the lid to a Tupperware container on the first try. 

Or for the first time my hygienist didn’t tell me I needed to floss more. 
 

Or when I finished my laundry and all the socks matched up.

Things that might incline people to lose the will to live. Especially in this cold. 

 

Our lives are strung out between the merely imperfect and the truly awful.
Just because it doesn’t come naturally doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. The thing is, people aren’t hardwired to be grateful. Like any school skill worth having, gratitude requires practice. It’s a skill and habit you can cultivate. Gratitude is like a muscle that you have to keep exercising, taking baby steps to get stronger.
 
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It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well.It’s an entirely different story during the trials and tribulations of life; the losses, disappointments, rejections, failures, hurts and set-backs.

One of the best ways to get through a burden is to bring in gratitude, then surrender to it in faith and trust. 

What you can’t explain in your life — may be explained as being a gift.
It is in falling down that we learn almost everything that matters spiritually. It seems that we have to lose it (or know that we don’t have it) before we will really seek it. Then we find it, and fittingly celebrate.

The message is sort of hard to miss.
 

                                                Medjugore, Croatia
 
After a while, finding things to be grateful for became easier and easier. In fact, I would have to stop myself at 10, then 15. Then I realized that I needed to be more specific and focus on exactly why I was grateful. For example: 

Vague: I am grateful that I met Mrs. “X” today.

Specific: I appreciated her manner, but wondered what I had done to deserve her company and how I might avoid her in the future.

 

In hindsight, it was probably the single most important thing I can attribute to getting me through some difficult, difficult years and trials. Literally.
 
 
 
You say keeping a gratitude journal sounds cheesy, too cliché. In fact, you’d rather stick needles in your eyes.  

You say that this is for the kind of people who daily pin 57 photos on Pinterest, the kind who don’t let their cacti casually die on the windowsill, and the kind that make their own granola with 10 different kinds of organic nuts.

Even if you’re sceptical and think you lack the discipline and time, start small. Instead of every day, commit to every couple of days. 

The trick is what we learned in Finding Nemo – Just keep swimming.

You will thank me, but you don’t have to.
 

 
After a few months, I realized I needed to involve subtraction, not just addition.I needed to consider how much better my life with was without something, rather just tallying up the good stuff.

I needed to be grateful for all that didn’t happen or what may have happened, all those close shaves with “disaster” of some kind or another.
 

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The distance between them happening and not happening, is grace. 
 

“I’ve come to believe that living in a state of gratitude is the gateway to grace.”                                                      – Adriana Huffington
                                               Medjugore, Croatia
It turned out that noting ostensibly small things and moments generated more satisfaction and happiness than large ones. As well, continually thinking of them as gifts guarded against taking them for granted and promoted delayed gratification.
 
I can live two months on a good complement.     Mark Twain
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Gratitude shouldn’t be a once a year kind of thing.

So on this Gratitude Day and everyday, think about: 

  • Thanking the barista that makes your morning coffee instead of staring at your iPhone and ignoring everyone around you. This doesn’t mean shooting off a perfunctory, “Hey, thanks”.  It means a concerted and consistent effort to notice and appreciate what you have been given. 

 

  • Saying a simple hello to a stranger on the street.

 

  • Not wasting one drop of water that runs from your faucet. 1.1 billion people have inadequate access to clean water and will never have this experience. 

 

  • All the good things flowing to you. From the crunch of autumn leaves, to the azure sky to, yes, even October snow. 

The only secret is you must mean it.  

 
No matter how big or small, be thankful and embrace.

You know you’ve reached the crowning glory of gratitude, when you lay writhing on the floor in pain from food poisoning and say to yourself, “Well, it could be a lot worse. At least it’s not appendicitis.”

Gratitude just may take over your life.

Happy Thanks and Giving!

P.S. I’m grateful that you read to the end of this e-letter.

The Mirror: A Reflection

Good title.

Well I like it.

…In the windows, the mirrors
    Are filling with smiles…
                           – Sylvia Plath
There are two mirrors in life. One mirror can be an opportunity for self-discovery and the other mirror is

used to check to see if our hair is sticking out in an inopportune angle.

And this morning it seemed, to my utter amazement, that when I looked into the clear light of my

bathroom mirror, everything was six inches lower than where it used to be.I thought – that can’t be right.

 

 

All of us, seen close up, have an appalling amount wrong with our character. We are all confused, cranky,

clingy and sometimes downright terrified. 

Even the act of asking someone to marry you is, in a sense, a rather cruel thing to do to someone you

deeply care about.

What Do You See?

 

 

 

Our everyday interactions are an opportunity to see more deeply into who we are and how we

operate, and to adopt new methods, conditions, and points of view.

But, you say, what if they’re boorish sorts who collect brown street signs, cut their toenails at the

dinner table, and clean their kitchen as if surgery were to be performed there?

Cause you know, there are few people more deeply insufferable than those who don’t, at regular

intervals, suspect they might be so.
 

It is a sign of our own inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar.  – Anais Nin

Our thoughts, whether they originated from us or others, contribute to our experiences. Cause

for reflection, this can be a bitter pill to swallow.Not many of us particularly want to accept

responsibility for inviting in or allowing bad treatment. Instead, we go answer the phone, get the

mail, eat a muffin, failing to understand that maybe, just maybe, the people we have problems

with, may actually be mirroring the disowned parts of ourselves.

We inflict in the other or judge, what we refuse to own up to or express, instead of realizing our

opportunity to redirect our view.

 

 

Remember, when you no longer play the game of judging, labeling, and punishing others,

you quickly become the outsider at most every cocktail party.
 

On that basis we can try to do a little better. I think you know what I mean.
 

Weal and woe

Nothing moves in our outside world until we move in our inside world.  – Caroline Myss

The horrible truth is that almost nothing outside of you can help. It’s an inside job, and I so

resent it.

They don’t hand out manuals for the tough stuff. We need self-reflection to change, and we

can only do that in stillness and silence.
 

Life inevitably mirrors back our different forms until we choose to integrate the very quality

essential to our personal growth and development. If we are not regularly embarrassed by

who we are, the journey to self-knowledge hasn’t even begun.You may also feel that you are

deteriorating faster than you can lower your standards, but I declare, Cinderella, you can do it,

and you will be amazed.

 

OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS

How long should we wait until everything is perfectly aligned and success is guaranteed?

The truth is we’ve already waited long enough. An authentic life requires action, courage,

mistakes and risks because “the perfect time” is an illusion, and waiting is a game we play

because we’re scared.

We need to seek help with the dark and the light, increasing and overcoming our space

challenges.  

 

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Mirrors reflect everything in front of it, revealing and expanding. We need to reflect on

things to attend to, things we need to work harder on, and the things that we need to let

go of.By the way, if you still have anything in your closet that is acetate, has elastic, pleats,

or sparkles, it’s now time to let them go.

This message is sort of hard to miss.

But the heart of mirroring is the reflective shimmer that allows one’s depth of character to

surface and glisten; a source of light and brightness, instruments of illumination and visibility.

For example, when we look into the foggy, mottled glass of antique mirrors, old and foxed and

beautiful, it may not be the best choice of a mirror, but it does have the distinct advantage of

making some of us look more enchanting than we have been led to believe. 
 

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Sometimes along the way, our self-image is allowed to decay into a shallow habit of pleasing,

growing into a pernicious self-focus. What we often need is to focus on ourselves less –  how

we dress, where we go, what we achieve.This is good. It takes the pressure off, because it is

never ultimately about us.

This is freedom.
 

So never fear the reflection.Instead, use it to go deeper and deeper into the process of

self-examination and discovery until eventually you discover or uncover the nature of your affliction. 
 

 

Don’t just focus on what you’re doing right. Ask yourself, every week and every month,

what you’re still lacking. What is it you’re doing wrong? And what could you do better?

I just wanted you to know that I’m glad we’ve had this talk. 
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My story

Remember when you used to be curious? Wondered about things, imagined, asked questions? To think that, you know, this could be the best day ever. Or worry that you are wrong about what you are almost positive about.

I think that pretty much sums it up for most of us. We’re all a mixed grill of happy anticipation and dread.

And then one day without warning, the open road beckons.

To just go, not knowing where or for how long.

Sometimes there’s nowhere to go, but on that road.

Sometimes you don’t have anywhere to go, if it’s not on that road.
 

A few years ago, okay, more than 30 – this happened to me. I left Edmonton for Calgary, lured by the liberal arts education promise of being taught how to live.

My ambition knows no bounds. 

Alas, I also had to leave the Shumka dancers behind.
Wait – that’s not them.

 

As the reality fell short of the promise and as my intellectual, creative, and spiritual development began to not unfold, I thought that there was a distinct and important lack in my new life, as I was mainly occupied with staying on my side of the road, keeping my coffee cup upright, and wondering why worker bees can’t have sex. 

I realized that was not ever going to be offered the experience of helping people sell their homes for more money faster. 

So at the end of 1999, all the stars were aligned and I conceived the idea of home staging.

The rest, as they say, is history.

You have been part and parcel of it. And I thank you.

I had no idea at the time that this labor of learning would animate me with a new sense of purpose. This would now become both my mission and something to do during the week, Saturdays and Sundays. 

I received a lot of television, radio, newspaper, and journal publicity in those early years because the concept was so newsworthy. As I like to say, I started at the national level and worked my way down.
 

“I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.”

– Mae West, P.T. Barnum, George M. Cohan, Will Rogers, W.C. Fields, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, and Big Tim Sullivan

 
CORE PRINCIPLES
Now there are some salient core principles involved when undertaking such a fundamental endeavour as deciding to stage your listing.

Number One: Ours is a culture that measure our worth by our efficiency, our relatives, and our ability to make good decisions.

Anne Dillard said something like, how we spend our weeks is how we spend our lives.

Number Two: You need to allow yourself the luxury of changing your mind. 

We live in a culture where one of the greatest social disgraces is not having an opinion, so we often form our “opinions” based on the face our seller makes, or the mutterings of your partner siting next to you, without investing the time and thought to come up with your own true feelings.

You may also have to make peace with the fact that some of the best people in your life are fallible, unreasonable, and downright annoying. Befuddlement is one of our greatest asset, one that distinguishes us from squirrels.

So cultivate that capacity for negative capability and take your God-given poetic license to say, “No – we need to stage this home.
 

I mean, once you start overachieving, people expect things from you.

Number Three: Expect anything tasteful to take a bit of time.

It’s hard to capture something so fundamental, yet so impatiently overlooked as the best presented house, yet, the myth of the overnight staging success is just that – a myth.
 

I know what’s going to happen here.

This is going to lead to a litany of questions. “Are two loveseats better than a three-seater and a chair?”, “What wall colour is best for selling?”, “Is grey trendy?”, “Should there be art on the walls?”, “Are matching chairs passe?”, “Would you have voted for Trump?” And so on.
 

Thus our present definition of success needs redefining. For example, you have to ask:
 

1. Does the house look like it just backed up to an IKEA store. 
P.S. If I never see another LACK wall shelf or an IKEA frame without a wire again, I will consider my life a triumph.

2. Does the furniture in each room act like wallflowers at a party – strained and stationed against involvement, quietly alone, making everyone feel awkward for having a good time?

3. Is the art hung correctly? Is there any art at all?
P.S. This may almost be my final post reminding you of the perils of hanging art badly. (Please hold your applause.)

4. And the last one. Upon entering the home, does it remind you of the aroma of your socks after a three day hike?
 

Number Four: Presence is far more intimate and rewarding than productivity.

Which is why I usually prefer the comfort of a beach chair and a good book. Preferably by the beach.

By the way, there is also a 97% chance of getting eaten while sitting at the water’s edge in a beach chair munching on Cheetos. That’s just a scientific fact. 

Showing up is good, but so is the hard, but rewarding work of getting the job done right, quickly and efficiently.  

Amen to that.

And now I’ve over-explained this, and none of this is even the point.
 

The Road More Travelled

Both And
I learned to watch, to put my trust in other hands than mine. And I learned to wander. I learned what every dreaming child needs to know – that no horizon is so far that you cannot get above it or beyond it.  –  Beryl Markham
Remember when you used to be curious? Wondered about things, imagined, asked questions? To think that, you know, this could be the best day ever. Or worry that you are wrong about what you are almost positive about.

I think that pretty much sums it up for most of us. We’re all a mixed grill of happy anticipation and dread.

And then comes a day when, without warning, the open road beckons.

To just go, not knowing where or for how long.

Sometimes there’s nowhere to go, but on that road.

Sometimes you don’t have anywhere to go, if it’s not on that road.

Boredom and complacency have this horrible inertia, which means that once they hit, it’s easy to get stuck…for a long time. And you can’t chart a course around anything that you’re afraid of. You can’t run from any part of yourself, and it’s better that you can’t.
(It had occurred to me to go to a psychotherapeutic travel agency that may have been able to align my mental disorder with the parts of the planet that would best alleviate them.) 

Which is why I decided on South Dakota. 

My ambition knows no bounds. 

So I surrendered to getting lost, as a voyage should take you further than your destination. Or as they say in Maine – you can’t get there from here. 

I succumb to the philosophy that adventure is one of the five necessities of the truly civilized, next after truth and beauty, ahead of art and peace.
Reckoning and Repair
Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes – including you.                                                                   – Anne Lamont 
Travelling, a real journey – not a typical holiday, cruise, trek or business obligation – is an entirely different way of knowing.  

It can be an intimate relationship. It can be a dark journey.  It can find new paths. But it is almost always, discovery.

While we are journeying, the mind is no longer on guard. We aren’t supposed to be doing much inside our heads. We are mainly occupied with staying on our side of the road, keeping our coffee cup upright, and wondering why worker bees can’t have sex.

Journeying lets us think freely and wildly with themes we’d lost touch with: childhood, a recent dream, a friend we haven’t seen for years, a hobby, why chocolate with 75 percent cacao is not actually a food, and whether we should buy an electronic wine breather.

We often arrive back subtly different: slightly more complete, serene, visionary. Maybe even more of a courageous and imaginative version of the person we knew how to be. 

But what is truly astonishing is that really, no one has missed us. Or even noticed that we had gone.

I know you didn’t.

The demise of one’s tenancies towards self-aggrandizement is a quiet, private, and sober moment of reckoning, for subtle feelings of imperfection. You may have to make peace with the fact that some of the best people in your life are fallible, unreasonable – and downright annoying.
Befuddlement is our greatest asset, the only feature distinguishing us from squirrels. 
We need certain things. Clandestine thoughts. Finding answers without needing to know why. Getting rid of the impression that we are indispensable. Not taking anything for granted. Gratitude.
And now I’ve over-explained it and none of this is even the point.
Now if we add contemplation with our journey, then Yea, this is what can truly change us. 
 
This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find nothing happens. But if you keep at it, something eventually will. 

Silence and aloneness are not luxuries, they are essential. 

We aren’t put on this earth to rise above life. We are here to walk through the muck, learning our lessons by going through intense life experiences, not skipping over them.

It’s somewhat like constantly clearing out and rearranging your living room. It’s as much about getting rid of all the furniture and trinkets that no longer serve you, as bringing in new pieces. And in that sense, it’s just as important to continue defining who we are, as to continue eliminating who we are not. 
Daniel Gilbert’s famous aphorism cites that “human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”
Which is why I usually prefer the comfort of a beach chair and a good book. Preferably by the beach.

By the way, there is also a 97% chance of getting eaten while sitting at the water’s edge in a beach chair munching on Cheetos. That’s just a scientific fact. 

Rapturous Rigor and Devotion
So I climbed into my car, plugged my iPod in AUX, and pressed “Shuffle” to listen to whatever music came up. (I was going to do the silence thing later.)

After a while I realized that kept having to skip past all the Christmas songs. So many Christmas songs. Which is when I discovered I hadn’t actually put my iPod on Shuffle, but rather at the letter “C”. A lot of Christmas songs start with the letter “C”, in case you didn’t know. 

I don’t think it’s an ideal system.

The bigger question is why I hadn’t taken the Christmas music off my iPod since it was, you know, almost August. 

This alone can give anybody a case of discouraged.
A wise person once said that if you keep going where you’re going, you’re going to end up where you’re headed. And if you keep moving ahead, you’ll find yourself in a different place.

Think that was me.

Yes. yes. He hath done yeoman’s service, and proved himself staunch and faithful.
The Art of Not Being Right
There is an art to getting lost, to being imperfect, to being disorganized and for being just plain wrong.

Although I wouldn’t know much about that. Except for the “lost” part.

Or finding.

Take this morning for instance.

I’ve never driven into Grand Falls before. It’s early enough. I’m starving. I’m un-caffeinated. I’m looking for a coffee shop. 

I head into the historic district, the business distinct, the tree district – nothing. Nada.

So I Google coffee shops. I come up with one called “Electric City”. Google says, “it’s the best coffeeshop in Grand Falls.” I have driven more than 3000 kms. so far and Google has not failed me. But this morning it won’t load.

I don’t know. Tired. Overused. No caffeine?

So not taking Google for an answer, I keep driving – slowly – when out of the corner of my eye, I catch the word “coffee” painted on a window front. I pull up, plug 2 quarters in the meter for an hour (Incidentally, I feel I have traveled back in time. Not only are these 1920 Calgary parking prices (maybe this was to tie up your horse), I have also been asked to sign my Visa slips the whole trip. When was the last time we had to do that? 

However, I do always remember to speak American and say “washroom” instead of “bathroom”

I get out of the car and walk in. I’m at “Electric Coffee”.

How do I do these things? Especially when I can hardly find my way out of an elevator.

While I was waiting for my coffee, I picked up a copy “What’s Up Yukon” and read an article all about the 95th anniversary of Urban Gold Miner that was maybe the most informative piece of journalism I’ve read in a long time.
The Importance of Changing One’s Mind Regularly 
“Most people do not see things as they are because they see things as they are!”                                                                                                  – Fr. Richard Rohr
Every viewpoint is a view from a point, and we need to critique our own perspective if we are to see and follow the truth all the way through.
 
We conduct our life as everyone does, by guessing at the future. When your time comes you want to be sure that you’re not leaving anything on the table, that there aren’t experiences left un-experienced.
It’s just for me, strains in my development has led me into some pretty strange territory.
As Ram Dass said, “When all is said and done, we’re really just all walking each other home.”
I think that’s it, but if I think of anything else, I’ll let you know. 
Well, night is closing in and I’ve still got all those lima beans to arrange.
 

 

P.S. Contemplating life, I just rolled up to a stop sign and sat there for a full two minutes as I waited for it to turn green.

I really believed I was living my best life. 

Yee-Haw!

 

The reason I’m writing a Stampede newsletter before The Official Beginning of Stampede is because it’s a well known fact that during the Greatest Show on Earth, 50% of Calgarians will be far away from here, and the other 52% will be deeply ensconced in discussing the meaning of life in some loud honky tonk bar in downtown Calgary, as will I.As you are poking your way down this nothing, if not totally engrossing missive, you may be saying to yourself, “Hey, I think I’ve read this before.” That is because if you have been faithfully reading my blog for the past say, one year, you have.

As someone famously said. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing again.”

I think it was me.

So now that I have your attention – maybe again – I would like to discuss the merits of mediocrity. In styling a home.

Lean closer because this is profound.

There are none.

Well, that was easy.

 
 
Now that the dust has settled (literally) on a long winter, and spring has bypassed us yet again, it may be time to survey the Ponderosa with more than one eye open. 

Besides, if you never try anything new, you can never fail. 

If y’all are completely flamboozzled on how to style your home – or even what styling is – you need to know that you have to get the best posse in town, because there are a few out there that couldn’t drive a nail into a snow bank.

You know the type…faded blue jeans, pearl button shirts, worn-at-the-heel cowboy boots, wearing hats with sweat lines, and driving rusty pick-me-up trucks with a couple of dented bumpers.

 

“Just ’cause you’re following a well-marked trail don’t mean that whoever made it knew where they were goin’.”                              – Texas Bix Bender
 
Don’t gamble on your establishment looking like an envelope without an address on it. 
Given most of you have lived in your home so long, there are probably things you no longer even see…things suggesting an element of brooding malcontent.
 
 
 
Many will say that they have an eye, good taste, definite opinions, and they like things done well, but still wouldn’t have a clue where to begin, second-guessing themselves.You don’t have to spend a fortune for good design. People think they are buying good looks. What they discover is that they get more than that. When a space functions well, it enhances your life. Think value not price.

As Kafka, the patron saint of self-criticism, said, “There’s only one thing certain. That is one’s own inadequacy.”

Not yours, everyone else’s. 

 

I do have to tell you, though, that my biggest excitement today (and I am using the term loosely, so this should really be an indicator of how little is going on with me), is discovering that the word cenosillicaphobia means the fear of an empty glass.

Oh, the times I could have used it – at bar-b-ques, pancake breakfasts, hanging around the peanut bowl at cocktail parties, and the like.

If only I could pronounce it. 
 

 
 
 

                              HOME ON THE RANGE

 

One thing is fo’ sure – updated kitchens bring one of the highest returns on investment, and they may end up being the deal-maker or deal-breaker whenever it comes time to sell. This is one room you want to deck out in its best finery. After all, you spend an inordinate amount of time in it, unless you order in a lot of Mexican.
 

 
Kitchens are pricey to redecorate or rebuild, so they rarely receive annual overhauls or frequent up-dates, even when they deserve them. Consequently, these rooms can slip into a time warp that echoes the era when the home was originally built or when you moved in. 
 
 
Granite or quartz work surfaces can really eat into the budget, so in order you don’t have to rob a bank, there are tons of attractive laminates as a less expensive alternative. I don’t advise installing granite or quartz countertops if you have dated cabinets.  

Speaking of dating, be careful out there. I once went on a date with a man would describe himself as resembling Kevin Costner. It was true in the sense of both men walk upright and have opposable thumbs.I propose a general rule: any man that claims to be a former Navy seal or cosmonaut should be disqualified immediately

Backsplash tile is the jewelry in a kitchen. Installing new backsplash tile is the best area to give punch to a kitchen. It’s a relatively small area, so this is where you can splurge to make the kitchen look more expensive, as well as updating and pulling the colours together.

 

Simple and less costly updates are to update the cabinet hardware or
 
…install a statement faucet.
 
                     
There’s Gold in Them Thar…
 
Not since the 1980’s have we seen this degree of popularity for gold-toned bath faucets, lamps, light fixtures, and doorknobs. In the ’80s it leaned toward polished brass, and now the gold tones are ranging beautifully towards a soft bronze-gold. This emerging trend may leave the popular silver and brushed nickel metals in the dust.
 
 
“If you’re riding’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.”                                                    – Will Rogers                                                  
 
 
 
Your ace in the pocket in styling your kitchen is to keep small appliances tucked away and a cappuccino machine at the ready.

Just in case I pop by. 

 

 

One of life’s little embarrassments is cove lighting or a Sunshine Ceiling. 

For me, that’s right up there with screen doors, deep-fried anchovies, and over-ripe tomatoes, not in that order.

Light the kitchen properly with slim LED pot lights, and if you don’t already have it,under cabinet lighting. Essential.

 Oh. Then there are Popcorn Ceilings.
 
And I quote: “It’s dingy, if it’s not painted it fades, and it can get stained easily and especially if you have any water damage, it can start flaking off; it attracts cobwebs, dirt, and soot, and it’s just one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen.” – Jim McCue, owner of Professional Drywall Services.
 
Removing the popcorn ceiling is one of the best improvements you can do to any home. You can quote me. 

After all, this isn’t my first rodeo.
 

Another bane of my existence are unframed, fraying posters curling at the corners and hanging onto the wall for dear life. If you can’t bear to part with your beloved posters, mount them in a deep frame so the character of those well-worn corners comes through, but the overall look is polished.

 

 
So…yo’all want to keep this in the back pocket of your ripped jeans. 
 

If you can’t remember what I look like, don’t go to my website. You won’t recognize me, it’s my high school picture.No matter how much or how little space you have, there’s always room for style. Make your home the “Greatest Indoor Show on Earth.”  It’s a one shot go for broke performance.
 
 
 
                                                                            – Karyn ‘Dead Eye’ Elliott, 

                                     Notorious Stylist of Fine Mercantile Establishments

 

 
‘”There’s two theories to a arguing with a woman. Neither one works.”                                                                                                  – Will Rogers 
 
It is worth noting that my pithy and often self-depreciating blog has been read by a decreasing audience since it’s inception in 2001.Yee-Haw!