Friday, July 27, 2012

Simple, Similar Frames



Kelly's Korner in her "show us your life" series is asking today - How do you display your pictures?

I think the key is to use simple and similar frames. If you are putting a group of frames together on a side table, look for frames all the same color. I used black, because I wanted to use a neutral color. For interest, I varied the texture of the frames, using both wood and metal. I also varied the size and shape. Look for frames that have interesting details, yet will not dominate the grouping.

I did not purchase all these frames at the same time, but if you pick a color to use, you can easily add to the display, when something catches your eye at the store. This kind of display has much more impact than one frame on its own.

Have a great weekend! I have exciting plans, with my family, that I can't wait to share with you :-)



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday...flowers, books, food, etc.



Things I am thinking about today.

  • I am trying to keep my flowers looking pretty, but wow, they need a lot of water lately. Thankfully, there are some that love the sun and heat. I am liking this pretty, purple salvia in this sunny spot by my driveway.
  • Isn't this sign the best? Give me a good book, a comfortable chair in a backyard flower garden and there is not much else I need to make my day happy. Of course, I don't go to the actual library and get actual books anymore. But, I love my Kindle library of books and the Amazon online bookstore, with any book I want - only a click away. I miss the actual library though. Libraries and the smell of books bring back great memories of childhood summers spent there and the beginning of my love of reading.
 

  • I have mentioned before that with Type 2 Diabetes, I must eat healthy and eat small meals and snacks throughout the day. One snack that I am obsessed with and can't be without in my refrigerator, is greek yogurt. My favorite brand is Chobani. It is a great choice for anyone, but especially a diabetic looking for a high protein, low carb snack. My favorite flavors are lemon, peach, mango and pineapple. The pineapple flavor tastes just like cheesecake :-)
  • I have been looking at these Caprese Pops on my Pinterest recipe board for weeks now. They look so pretty and easy to make, but I haven't had an occasion to make them yet. I think I need to have a party soon, just so I can see how they taste. Have a great Thursday!


Vicki



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Art and Craft Show Secrets



On Saturday, I went to a craft show with my daughter, Melissa. We had fun walking around, looking at everything and even buying a couple items.

Two pairs of earrings from Glassology. They are made from recycled paper and glass . I love the soft colors.



Three soy candles from Nature's Quest. I love soy candles and burn them often in my house. These have wonderful scents - southern apple, coconut lime and lavender litsea.



I am not a crafter or an artist, (I do sew) but I admire those of you who are. Pinterest and your blog posts inspire me.

However, I do have some insider information. Until last year, my job was the director of an arts and craft show. Sounds fun right? Well, you would think so and there were parts that were, but there was also a lot of craziness involved. You have to be very organized and be willing to talk and listen to a lot of people all letting you know exactly what they need and want over the course of a weekend.

I was very protective of the crafters and artists and always had their best interests at heart. They all want the best location possible and to have everything organized for their set up. Another big point for them, is to not be near and definitely, not next to, someone in the same category or medium. Also, everyone wants all the art and crafts to be of high quality and created by the artist. All this drives their sales.

These artists work very hard setting up and tearing down their work and their displays (including tents) almost every weekend in the summer. They need every show to be profitable. It was my job, to do my best for them and make sure they were happy and making money.

So, have fun and do a little shopping if you are attending any art fairs or craft shows this summer - now you know a little of what happens behind the scenes :)



Vicki



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Color Run



Over the weekend my daughters ran in a 5K race called The Color Run. As you can see by the photo, it is not your typical race.



It is called "the happiest little run on the planet" because runners are showered and sprayed with brightly colored dust by volunteers along the route. It is a corn starch based, non toxic substance, so no worries there. At the end of the race, there is an explosion of color and music to run through and celebrate your finish.



This race, held in the Ann Arbor area, had over 15,000 runners of all ages. Megan and Melssa ran with some of their friends and Megan's housemates and had a great time. They were texting me photos starting at 5:30 in the morning and throughout the run.



It is so fun to see your daughters make great memories together - even if they end up covered head to toe in multi - colored paint dust. Aren't they cute?





Vicki



Monday, July 23, 2012

Bachelorette Viewing Party



A few of my friends and I got together Sunday night for the finale of the Bachelorette. There is a core group of us who have watched this crazy franchise throughout the years and we always try to watch the finale together. I have hosted it in the past, but this year it was at a friend's house. Of course this involved good food, wine and a lot of laughing. We discussed who we like best for Emily, who is probably not genuine, how adorable Emily's dresses and jewelry were and who we don't like very much or who we love and why. All the more fun and interesting, because we were together.

Hopefully, you all know who Emily has picked by now, so I don't spoil anything. I really am a sap for the romance of it all. Even though most of what happens is not realistic and most likely scripted, I still fall for the girl gets the guy story every time. There is a reason I love Pride and Prejudice. It's the love story that I fall for - the against all odds, opposites attract, forever after story.

 
In the end, Emily picked Jef and I have to say, i think she made the right choice. For the first time since I have been watching this silly show, it feels real. Time will tell and they have religious differences to work out, which is no small matter. For now, I will put aside the snark and wish them the best.

Our tradition continues - another Bachelor/Bachelorette viewing party - more fun because it was spent with friends.



Vicki



Friday, July 20, 2012

The Difficult To Decorate Stairway



I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner for "show us your foyers". Welcome - if this is your first time reading this blog :-)

For me, a foyer is not too difficult to decorate. What has always stumped me is how to decorate the walls in the stairway that are part of a foyer. A lot of people use family photos, but while it looks great, especially in a nice, coordinated arrangement, to me, it just feels a little too intimate in a "public" space. This is what I came up with recently, and I am happy with how it looks and how I can change it for the seasons.



The mirror is from Target (clearance, because it was the last one). The plaque is from a craft show. I change what I put on the shelf with the seasons or holidays. I even sometimes hang small ornaments or decorations from the knobs on the bottom. I like simple clean looks, without a lot of clutter. P.S. I don't always have fresh flowers on the shelf :-)

Have a great weekend. In fact, my town is having a festival this weekend, including a craft show. I will be on the look out for a unique find to use in future decorating. Do you like craft shows and art fairs as much as I do?

If you are new, I would love it if you would comment and say hi or follow me!





Vicki



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday...books, reality tv, etc.



Things I'm thinking about today.

  • We finally got some rain in Michigan! I guess if you blog about it - it will happen ;-)
  • I'm a little late to the party when it comes to the Hunger Games books. I tend to resist any kind of book series that everyone is reading. But, I won a gift bag In a silent auction at my daughter's sorority house and The Hunger Games book was included in it. I decided to put it in my pool bag and give it a try. To my surprise, I enjoyed it a lot. I didn't find some of the characters extremely likable, but the concept of the games was compelling and the details of the settings and characters were well written. While Katniss is definitely a heroic and intelligent character, her emotions left me a little cold. Only with Rue and her sister could the reader see what she was capable of feeling. Should I see the movie?


  • Is anyone watching Real Housewives of NYC? I am enjoying it so far. The conflict is silly and not really that hurtful. Carole is one smart lady and I enjoy her take on the other women. It is fun to see someone finally put the Countess in her place. A princess does trump a countess in reality tv land!
  • I am so happy the Orange County Housewives are done. I think it is time for me to walk away from this one. Instead of making me laugh, the fighting began to stress me out. There is too much glee on the women's face's (especially Tamara) when they say things to hurt one another.
  • Who is looking forward to the Bachelorette finale? I do read the spoilers (my lips are sealed here) so I know who Emily is rumored to pick :-)
  • I went to lunch with a friend today for a late birthday celebration. We went to a new restaurant, had a glass of wine and relaxed and talked for a few hours. Isn't there something so special about time spent with your girlfriends. No worries, just girl talk about everything under the sun. And the wine is a bonus!


Vicki



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Keep Calm and Garden On



My flowers were seriously crying today. The temperature was 102 hot degrees, with no rain in sight. In fact, we have only had a mere 2 inches of rain since the beginning of June. Needless to say, I have been watering my flowers a lot. This is usually the time of summer we get the payoff with big beds and lots of blooms. Not this year. Between the heat wave in the spring, the hard frosts after things started blooming and now the drought, the flowers are confused. I could show you pictures of my garden, but I'll spare you the sight ;-) I'm not giving up though. I will keep watering and hope for some rain. I still enjoy looking at the daily changes, seeing the new growth and being outside amongst my flowers. Gardening is one of those things I am embracing at this time in my life. I will keep calm and garden on...and maybe start thinking about the fall flowers to come :-)

How are your gardens doing this year? I would love to hear about your tips for this dry summer!



Vicki



Monday, July 16, 2012

Why I Walk



When I left my job about one year ago, the first thing I started to do was walk at least five times a week. I was determined to get healthier and reduce my stress. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with Diabetes 2 and something needed to change in my life. (that subject is a blog for another day :) Exercise is key to maintaining good blood sugar levels, along with diet. So, I began walking almost daily with this cutie.

Walking is such a great stress reducer. You are in the fresh air and the sunshine. You can see the change in the seasons and notice the little things like flowers and the birds. I walk in all four seasons. I love the changing colors of the leaves in the fall and the cold on my face and the crunch of the snow under my feet in the winter. I love the new growth in the woods in the spring and the beautiful flowers in my neighborhood in the summer. Luckily I am able to change my route daily because my neighborhood consists of miles of paths through the woods.

As time went on the stress melted away and I started to feel more fit. I was able to lose that last 5 pounds that is always so stubborn. Walking became the highlight of my day - I looked forward to it and missed it when I couldn't for some reason. It became time to spend on me. Just what I needed to get to that simple life I am looking for :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pool Days



My daughters and I went to our pool on Friday and it was just about perfection. It was one of those summer days where the sky is so blue it looks like a painting. It was one of those days, we in the cold north dream about, when we are freezing and the sky is gray for day after day in the winter. We dream of a lounge chair by the pool, the smell of sunscreen, a good book to read and a drink in our hand.

It was nice having some relaxing time with Megan and Melissa without their busy work and school schedules getting in the way. At this stage in our lives, I try to appreciate every moment spent with them. We are at the stage of life where there is less conflict and more friendship. Believe me, it took some time to get there, but sometimes they need to leave home for a while to find that Mom isn't so annoying after all :)



Vicki



Friday, July 13, 2012

My Everyday Mantel



Welcome if you are coming from the Kelly's Korner link up for "Show us your mantels".

This is what I call my "everyday" mantel. I tried to vary the heights, keep it predominately red, add in a little sage green to match my furniture and keep the scale large. Since my mantel is built all the way to the ceiling, anything small scale gets lost. I am so not a decorator, but I'm happy with how it looks.

My favorite part of decorating for holidays is being creative with my mantel. My fall mantel will go up in October and stay decorated until Thanksgiving when it changes to Christmas. I will post photos in the fall:)

Have a great weekend! I am off to the pool with my daughters. The Hunger Games is the book in my pool bag and I am determined to finish it today :)



Vicki

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday



Here are some things I am thinking about today :)

  • Just finished a good book. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I love reading thrillers that keep me wondering and reading fast to find out the ending. This is told from different points of view and will keep you guessing what is the truth and who is the real villan. There are many surprising twists and the ending will keep you thinking after you put it down.
  • My daughters, my sister and I saw Wicked this past weekend at The Wharton Center on the campus of Michigan State University (my alma mater). It was fabulous as always - this was my third time seeing it. The music is wonderful from the first scene to the last. Defying Gravity is such a great song and the actress who played Elphaba had an incredible voice. Both my daughters are home right now and it makes me so happy. There is something so peaceful about having your family all together. It is nice to know they will always come home - even when they are out making their way in the world :)
  • I have a thought on The Real Housewives of Orange County Reunion. When Heather said to Alexis "when three people say you are dead, you should lie down" it made me cringe. It was such a mean thing to say. Would you say that to a child if they were being bullied? I don't get why these women are so proud of themselves when they hurt someone with their words - even if it's all for the drama!
Vicki

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

First Post



Welcome to my blog. I hope you will visit often as I share how my life has become quieter, more simple and somewhat introspective. I will talk about life with my husband of almost 30 years, my college age daughters, who move in and move out and my cute 1 year old puppy. I'll talk about the books I love, my garden and cooking as healthy as I can. I'll discuss reality TV because I am addicted to the crazy housewives and the bachelors/bachelorettes. And sports - I love my Detroit and Big Ten teams!

I recently left a stressful job and have spent the past few months finding the new normal for me. My daughters are living at college, so my husband and I became empty nesters for the first time. As much as I worried about how it would be, I have to say it was an easy transition. We enjoyed the freedom and the calm. It felt like we were dating again. Of course we missed the girls, but they were both an hour or less away, so we could visit often.
While my husband is at work, it is the puppy and I every day - going for walks, drinking tea, reading and working in my flower garden. A simple, calm life. Just like I need it to be :)
Vicki

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