Wednesday, April 26, 2017

More Stripes For Our Backyard Patio

 summer cabana: black + white stripes:

Since Spring has arrived I think all of us are starting to look at our outdoor areas. I wrote about how much our yard plantings have grown their first year in my last post.

When we designed our back yard I knew what I wanted to incorporate and found a wonderful landscaper that was easy to collaborate with. We made the decision to buy larger plants in the beginning so we would have many years of enjoyment back there.

 Divided Light Front door:
 My friend Terri's porch of La Dolfina  blog.

We do have some more ideas planned for the back yard, but nothing  much different from what we now have.

I thought it would be fun to share one  of our future plans for our back yard area with you all, and maybe you will get inspired.

In our previous home I waited for years to add something to my front porch. I was a bit reluctant that it might be a bit over board. Then finally one year I did not care if it was over board or not and I added something I had wanted for years.


Of course I wanted to use a striped curtain somewhere in our new home too, and I have the perfect spot on our side patio....

See that column that is next to the brick planter. That is right at the edge of our side patio. I can see a striped curtain pulled back on that very corner.

Here is a side view of our side patio. I chose to use black and white striped cushions on our little bistro set and two white wicker chairs.

As you can see my scheme out back is black and white stripes with cobalt blue trimmed in white. We also have two black and white striped market umbrellas.

I love the charm of a market umbrella and it just seems to fit our yard.

I have not decided if I am going to use two curtains, one on each side of the post or just one. 

There are a lot of different places you can get the outdoor curtains, but one thing that is harder to find is a good outdoor fabric with a white background, and not the natural background. 

Pottery barn has  a nice selection and that is most likely where I will be purchasing them, but I am going to wait for them to go on sale. I need the longer length than most sites offer of 124"

Have you ever thought of using a curtain on your porch or on your patio. I wish I had not waited so long to use one in our previous home, but I am going to be sure and install one here in our new home, hopefully this year!!


Monday, April 24, 2017

How Did Our Garden Grow?

A Look At How Our New Home's Yard Has Progressed Since Last Year.

This time of year everything is blooming again and it all started this last week. We have been amazed at the changes in our yard since last year. I thought it might be fun to see the changes with a new update...

 We started with this in April of last year .....


 then more plants....

 Brand new plants, no grass yet ,or trellises for the vines, but making good progress

 Ahhhh Yes, we have grass........

( June 2016)

We added our own touches with glass table painted black and cobalt cushions, this table was purchased 47 years ago. Notice I had to add a little blue and white with the urns. The roses have grown and so have the vines on the trellises.

This is at the beginning of Spring this year.....

This year before the roses bloomed. You will notice no cushions, Yes we still have rain here in sunny California. Everything is flourishing and you can tell by the size of the plants they all seem happy here. Everything has grown so much that this week we have to do trimming of the boxwood to keep it neat and compact. It has almost closed up the spaces between each plant.

This was taken just a few days after the previous photo, the roses have started blooming ....

When I look out back I still can hardly believe this is our yard in our new home. It looks like it has always been here and we are it's new owners. Always grateful and so happy that we get to live here. 

We just planted the impatiens so they will fill in nicely within the next couple of weeks. I love it when they spill over the brick.

This is looking towards the gate where you would enter into the backyard from the driveway. You can see it is dusk and the lights just came on, this is one of my favorite times of day in our yard.

 This is the side patio that we can see from the great room when the windows are open we can hear our happy little fountain bubbling away. I have to have the sound of water.




Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Fashion Post

I wrote this post around the same time last year and I think this is worth reading again, in fact I read it as a good reminder to myself. 

 Know Yourself
 and No More Self Sabotaging

I don't know if you are all like me  or not, but I will have to admit when I am looking for clothes I see younger, taller, thinner models modeling the clothing, and I can talk myself out of even entertaining the idea of wearing the outfit that I was originally attracted too.

This is  called  self sabotaging. Before I know it I have told myself I am too old, too fat, too short, and there is no hope in even trying. 

Okay, maybe that is a bit dramatic, and to be honest that would only happen on what I call a bad day. But the fact that those thoughts even enter my mind is not a good thing.

Negative messages are a very bad thing for we women of any age. I once read that we should talk to ourselves as if we were talking to our friend. I know for sure I would NEVER tell a friend, 

"Oh forget it, what are you thinking? "YOU can't wear that, you are too old, too fat and way too short."  

So let's talk to ourselves as if we were a friend! What would we say?

 "I love the concept of that outfit and I think that color would look fantastic on you, I bet we could pull together an outfit that is similar that would be just perfect for you!!" 

What I just stated is exactly what we need to do when looking for clothes for ourselves. We need to open up doors for ourselves, not shut them.

We all have to tweak outfits to fit our own style, size and color choices. Very rarely will we find one perfect outfit that fits all of the above criteria.

What I would like to promote is self awareness and making things fit our own style and desires for how we want to look, NOW, not when we lose 10-50 lbs. 

If we wait to do that we will be self sabotaging our efforts. There is nothing worse than feeling fat and frumpy.

Don't wait to feel good about yourself.  Feel good about yourself where you are RIGHT NOW!!

If you are on a weight loss journey still dress stylish as you go along. You don't have to make investments on pieces just buy things that make you feel good about yourself along the way. By waiting we are delaying some gratification that we really do not need to delay.

In order to give yourself positive messages, you must first understand your body type.

Know what silhouette is the most flattering on your body type.

Wear the colors that make you feel like smiling when you wear them. (we all get compliments when we wear certain colors, make those your Go-to colors for your wardrobe)

Figuring out these things will take a little bit of time and effort, but in the end it will empower you when trying to make a decision on purchasing a new piece of clothing.

I know the clothing industry does not cater to our age group at all so it is up to us to find our own niche and go for it.

Since I don't know all of you or your body types, color preferences, or what silhouette would look best on you I will have to use myself as an example in hopes to make you aware of your own attributes.

Let me show you an outfit that caught my eye due to the color combination and the stripes, both of these elements are what I enjoy wearing in my personal wardrobe. Obviously this outfit can not, and will not fit me, however I can use it as inspiration and find pieces that will work.....

She looks adorable, but let me tell you what won't work for me and why. 

Let's start with the top this top will actually work for me, and I have something similar in my wardrobe, but buyer beware, all striped tops are NOT created equal.....


At first glance I bet you thought all of these tops will work for me didn't you?

 #2 has a problem area for me. This is where we all need to know our own bodies and what we look best in. Most women my age do not like their upper arms to be seen and trust me I am right there with you, my upper arm thinks it is a thigh and I have renamed it THARM.

Even with my larger arms covering them does not camouflage the fact that they are big, big is big whether covered or not. 

I am broad shouldered and not horribly busty but let's say big enough. Now look at #2 more closely. See where the sleeve hits, straight in line with the bust and cuts off right at above the elbow to accentuate the upper arm, kind of like Popeye!! #2's sleeve is not a good length for me, if it were even right below the elbow it would be better.

Since it gets blasted hot here in our California summers I choose to wear #1, and #4 when it is hot and #3 will work for nice Spring days. I always push my long sleeves up at the 3/4 mark, it looks a bit more youthful than an actual 3/4 sleeve Tee.

#1 sleeves are just the right length for a cooler look, and the extra embellishment across the top of the shoulder and sleeve add interest.

 I might mention here I also can not wear a true boat neck if it comes to far towards the shoulder due to my weight right now, that area looks, shall we say puffy, so be aware of that as well.

#4 has a nice V-neck which is always a more slimming neckline for anyone and the sleeve length is at a good point a well.

If you have different sleeve lengths in your closet, try them on and scrutinize which looks the best. Do NOT however start telling yourself how old your arms look or how big they are, NO SELF SABOTAGING IS ALLOWED!!!

Now lets take a look at the skirt. This is an easy NO WAY, NO HOW for anyone over 30years of age in my personal opinion.

Since I am an hourglass figure type my widest point is at my hips so I have found that an A-line or a softly pleated, straight, or soft ever so slight gather works for me. 

My waist is my narrowest point, and trust me narrow is subjective! To accent my waist and take away from the width of my hips I found a very cute alternative.

From  Boden

We probably need to talk about length of skirts here. The prettiest length for most dresses and skirts is just slightly above my knee where my leg dips in.

Look for the narrowest part of your upper leg, above the knee, or right at the knee. 

Since this is a sporty look I would choose just right above my knee for my figure type and age. Here is a picture of the skirt in a different print to show you the length...

I love this outfit as well and would totally wear it, except for the ankle strapped shoes, because I have very sturdy ankles. I have found the more foot showing the more slimming it is for my ankles/cankles!

In the description the skirt measures between 21-22inches. I know from other skirts in my wardrobe that a 21 inch skirt hits at a good spot on my leg and 23 inches would be as long as I can go, it hits in the middle of my knee.

If you have great legs show them, don't cover them up, but at the same time make sure your skirts are not too short.

So there you have a very long post trying to articulate the process I have learned to go through to evaluate what will look good on me. 

Trust me it has taken me years to figure this out and a lot of research. We all have to go through our own process and I hope this will help you go through your own process a little more easily.

I am not an expert, just a woman of a certain age doing the best I can to look and feel good about myself. I am learning right along with you my dear readers!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Finishing Touches Around Our New Home!


In my last post I shared our entry hall with you all, and I mentioned I would share the rest of the molding we did throughout our living area.

To say we are happy with the results is truly an understatement. My hubby did a lot of molding work in our last home so this addition makes it feel more like home to us. Who says a small space (53"x93") can't look grande? 

We had crown molding added to the entire living area. Talk about a quick transformation! Once it went up they had it caulked and painted in no time.

Here it is in the great room, we also adding molding around the opening of the niche. Originally I had planned a frame inside the inset, but opted to wait and see if it needed it once all the molding was done. 

I have a policy that I use for myself, "When in doubt don't," and I truly wasn't sure if it would need further attention so I am waiting.

Update: Now that I have lived with the finished project I have decided I DO want to add the frame on the back wall. I think it will give more dimension to the area.

 (before molding was added)
You can also see the opening into a little hallway on the left side of the TV niche. Since it is a part of the TV wall we are also addressing that area with a new hanging light fixture to give it a finished look.

 This fixture ties in my use of black, white and aged brass that I used in my other light fixtures in our home. Repeating elements makes for a nice visual flow.

One of the nice surprises that came out of this project was how he treated all the curved corners.

We have two corners that were treated this way, one in the kitchen and a smaller one in the great room at the edge of the fireplace wall. I love beautiful detailing and this really is pleasing to my eye.

 He also used the same treatment in my kitchen area on the curved corners. This is a picture before it was caulked and painted.

A nice finishing touch to that one corner, it almost looks like a column.

 The opening from the kitchen to the great room is about 12 ft. I wanted it to say a little more than the other door openings, but not too much as to shout out, "Look at me!!" It had to have a visual flow.

I took my cue from my Dutch cushion mirror over the fireplace. (note, again repeating elements)...

I have seen this design in historical homes, including the White House, but I did not know what it was called. I literally spent the most part of one whole day researching it.

I found out it was called shoulder architrave. Can you see the shoulders, and the recessed part in the middle where the neck would go.

Since my area was over 12 feet I did not want the recessed part. I just wanted it to go straight across. I found that this was called earred architrave.

Here is a picture of the treatment I wanted. I knew that proportions were important so I worked with my contractor to get the look I wanted. This was the first time he had done this treatment. He likes it so well he wants to do it again.

Here is a closeup of the molding before it was painted and caulked so you can see the details.

Here is a closeup of how it turned out. It looks exactly how I had envisioned it. Simple, classic, says a little bit but not too much!!

Now that we are done it is time to review the project and make some final tweaks.

In the entry hall I originally wanted a very small pencil size framework on the ceiling in black, but let my hubby and contractor talk me out of it. I used my, "When in doubt, Don't," or in this case "When in doubt, WAIT!"

I have waited and once I saw the lighting going up I knew I wanted it in the design. So we are going to try it out. Here is inspiration picture...

The molding here is a bit wider than I envision for my project.

The other area my hubby wanted to wait on, that was in my original plan was to use one more of the over head lights that I have in the entry a bit further into our home as you enter. I agreed to wait, but I KNEW I wanted it, and  that it would look great.

The other light will be placed on the other side of the doorway

After it was all said and done, he agreed and the new fixture has been ordered and it is on it's way.

Items left to do:

1. Black pencil trim on entry ceiling
2. Frame molding back wall of TV niche.
3. Hang scalloped fixture on other side of entry doorway.
4. Hang light fixture in little hall next to TV niche. 

Then we will be DONE and DONE

I promise to show you all the final details in another post once we are totally done with this go around!! You realize there will be more projects in our future, but this was the big one for this year!! Thanks for following along on our new journey!!