Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Me | update

I have been receiving a lot of emails inquiring about my next steps - life after work, etc. While I have been busy exploring all of this I am going to give you a sneak peak of something I have been having fun with. More to come over the next couple of months...

See the Toby & Crumb photo shoot here!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Las Vegas | Hard Rock

There are definite pros and cons to this place

Fun Friday Finds | Blogs

This weeks Fun Friday Finds are blogs that have been inspiring me lately. I have been spending A LOT of time in front of the computer learning things that I thought I would never learn(i.e. Lightroom2 and CS4 to hint a few) so from time to time I need to take a break and look at websites or blogs so I keep myself energized in the direction I am headed.

 A Little Hut - her paper cut designs are so simple and elegant. She even shares a video tutorial for a gift tag.

picture from A Little Hut

InLeaf - rich linens and leaf printing... YUM!!!!!! Can't wait to repaint our downstairs room and bring some of these pillows in.

picture from Inleaf

Life Love Paper - visit to be inspired by the writings and photographs of this gal. Her blog banner was featured in Artful Blogging magazine, this is how I found her. After you consume yourself with the blog head on over to her Etsy store, I am loving this and this

picture from Life Love Paper

hmmm I think I see a trend here - fall is on it's way. I have some busy days ahead of me but I am hoping that I take the time to see the leaves change before they are gone.

Happy Friday and enjoy life!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Viva Las Vegas!

On the way out for a few days in Vegas. While I usually don't have a lot of down time when in Vegas I do have my favorite places.

My favorite place to stay... (I am checking out the Hard Rock this trip)

Mandalay Bay

This property has everything - the best pool, great restaurants, and has a lot to offer if you are traveling with kids.  What is even NICER about Mandalay Bay is there is a small Four Seasons property that is connected to Mandalay. Thanks to some very nice clients, I had the opportunity to stay here and you wouldn't even know that you were in Vegas! Also at the Mandalay is the House of Blues Foundation Room - if you ever have a VIP pass to an event here, it has an AMAZING view! It is located on the top floor of the the hotel and you can look down the entire strip.

Where to eat... you really can't go wrong in Vegas anymore, choices are limitless! Here are some suggestions - on the expensive side, but great for when you get bored of the buffet:

Nobu - hands down for sushi

N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms - be prepared for the most expensive smores you will ever have! LOL! It's all about the presentation. Then head up upstairs to Ghostbar for some unbelievable people watching...this is a 20-something crowd.

Also at the Palms is Alize - best bet for a romantic dinner if you are looking for that type of place! ;)

Aureole at Mandalay Bay is a must see just for the wine rack tower! The wine gal has to be pulled up by a harness to retrieve the wine. The design was inspired by the movie Mission Impossible.

This trip I am looking forward to seeing the Wynn and the newly remodeled Caesar's Palace!

Enjoy life!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cleanse Detox | are you up for it?

Not the title that you were hoping for today was it? LOL! Many of you from the challenge have contacted me and are asking about good maintenance and what's next. I do plan on doing the challenge again in 2010 but thought it might be a good idea to do a cleanse before schedules get too crazy - can you believe October is just around the corner?

I have decided to do a 10 day cleanse for a little pick me up and rejuvenation that will start on October 19th and would love to have a support group! I am hoping that this should give you plenty of time to research the cleanse that you would like to do and get the necessary items in your home and take out the UN-necessary ones.

Which cleanse to do?

There are several programs out there, I am going to review which ones that I have done and why I do or don't like them. Remember this is from my own personal experience.

Quantum Wellness: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Health and Happiness - The book is great, I love how she talks about living an aware life that includes meditation, exercise, conscious eating, self work, and having FUN. I definitely recommend this as a read. But the cleanse is an intense 21 day complete body cleanse. I lasted a week. I was a mess - I didn't feel good, in fact I felt very ill. It's all apart of the cleanse experience, I am sure, but I didn't want to feel like that for 21 days. I think I could probably do this type of cleanse now - but a year ago it was not a good option for me. I recommend doing this cleanse if you have already done one in the past and if you are an experienced vegetarian. If this is your first time doing a cleanse keep reading...

Goop, Gwenth Paltrow Detox - I loved doing this detox (cleanse) and will incorporate some of the meal ideas for my cleanse. You can see my first post here of the cleanse. This is a seven day program - which you can extend for the 10 days that we are going to be doing. I will tell you that I didn't do all of the recipes, I re purposed the ones that I liked and made modifications. The brocoli and arugula soup was very filling and I repeated that recipe for soup -  I didn't do the cucumber avacado soup. I also didn't do the juices, just for convenience I did my Greens First mix. This detox/cleanse helped me kick the diet coke habit in the butt!

Advocare Herbal Cleanse - This is the one that I will be doing, incorporating the dietary recipes from the above Goop detox. I really like how it is organized (checklist of what you take each day), but most of all I love how the Probiotics are included and essential to this cleanse. Probiotics are the good microflora (you have seen the Activia commercials right?) that supports intestinal health and funcion. Advocare recommends doing their herbal cleanse every 90 days, at this time I am averaging every 180 days. Here is are the dietary guidelines for this program (this will bring back challenge memories for some of you):
  • eight to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits - if I can't get this in I will supplement with my Green's First drink
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water each day - we are already doing this right??
  • Eat starchy foods such as breads, rice and pasta in the whole grain form. Avoid processed starches such as white bread and white rice.
  • Reduce your dietary intake to as low an amount as possible. This means reducing or eliminating the use of butter, margarine and high-fat salad dressings. It also means cooking with water or vegetable broth rather than oil or butter.
  • Scrupulously avoid all friend foods.
  • Be sure to avoid sugar (table sugar or sucrose). Eat a piece of fruit instead! This is why I planned this BEFORE Halloween...
Please let me know if you have any questions - so who's on board?

Here's a little giveaway... When you comment on this post letting me know that you are joining me, that will enter you in a random drawing for an Advocare Herbal Cleanse system! I will do the drawing on Monday, September 28th - so that gives you almost a week to think it over. I do expect that the person who wins the system must actively participate in the 10 day cleanse!

Enjoy life!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fun Friday Finds | Books

Today's Fun Friday Finds are books. I read a great article by Stephen King in Entertainment Weekly about "What's Next For Pop Culture?" What's going to happen to books, radio, serious American movies, network TV, and why should we care? Because of QUALITY.

"And when the good stuff's gone? It ain't coming back, son. That's what I'm really afraid of." Stephen King.

Books have been a concern for me since I am an avid reader. It is exciting to be around for launch of E-book technology - I have Kindle: Amazon's 6, and while I love it for convenience of travel, it has not taken the place of the tangible book for me. There are some books that are not available in digital format and most of my reference reading I still prefer in traditional book form so I can make notes and highlight. Mr. King brings up some good questions about the future quality of content - what happens if publishers and editing go out of business? Where is their place in this changing industry? I am anxious to see how this all evolves.

On my nightstand...

I have never considered myself to be a good writer. Those of you who read my blog regularly can attest to this! I pulled B's in most of my English classes, I think my love for reading saved me there. When I entered into the workforce we had writers available to us - whew. But now it's just me, no editor, no copy writer, just me RAW. So I apologize to those of you that cringe with my run on sentences, fragments, misuse of 'myself'. I am working on it! A blog that I read on a regular basis recommended this book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. It is a writers book on how to write a book or short stories. I am about half way through and loving it! Her humor and the way that she is breaking down the process all makes sense.

I gave The Devil of Nanking to a friend of mine based on the review our local book store gave: "Hauntingly dark". And apparently it is. I have yet to read it - but be forewarned that it's DARK. I am also anxious to read The Outlander: A Novel (P.S.) as it is recommended by the above friend! The Outlander is available on the Kindle so I downloaded that immediately. The Devil of Nanking is in traditional form only, for right now.

The book The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel has been one of my favorite dog books.The book has combined to of my loves: dogs and car racing. Even if you are neither a dog lover or car racing fan, I think you can enjoy this read. I believe the message in the book is to live in the moment and no better than a dog to teach us that. The exciting news is last week my aunt and I went to a fundraiser where Garth Stein was doing a reading for Animal Aid! If you have a chance to hear him read he is VERY entertaining and candid.

Happy Friday and enjoy life!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Barn House | Fall Harvest

Last weekend I tried to stay pretty busy - it's my way of coping through the grieving process. I was thankful that there were some fun events to keep me occupied.

One of my favorite is to attend any event hosted by the Barn House, Joe and Jermonne. Last Saturday was their last event of the season and they didn't disappoint!

I picked up a couple of feeders at the Barn House. My intention was to hang these off my worktable ends to hold tools but they are just about and inch too wide. So they are going to find a home on a wall. Which means some moving of my existing shelves and that will entail filling holes and touch up painting...it's always a can of worms isn't it?? The width of the feeder holds a small canning jar perfectly so my acrylic crayons, paintbrushes, etc are going to fit perfectly in it!

Found an end bolt of burlap type fabric. I have started to make lavender sachets out of it, decorating the front with some shabby flowers. Will hopefully have these in the etsy store soon!

Loved the look of these aged glassine envelopes...wheels were spinning when I spotted these!

Always on the look out for glass knobs, I use them on my art pieces. I either find good deals on Ebay or at Estate sales, these were on the expensive side but the savings in my time made up the difference. I really love the red paint on them.

Enjoy life!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

PEACE | Grandpa

My grandpa Kengo passed away tonight at the age of 97 - he will be missed by all of us.

Amos | Intervertebral Disc Disease

Our Amos has Intervertebral Disc Disease (Type II Herniation). It isn't at the point where he has to have surgery but it is essential that he remain on strict crate rest for at least four weeks. We are hoping that this type of management will allow a 'scar' to form over the top of the disc material and we can avoid the disc surgery.

Last weekend we noticed that Amos was getting around pretty slow and not jumping up - jumping has been a bad habit of his from way back and most likely lead to this injury. By Monday morning I could tell he was in pain because every time he breathed in his little body would shake. Off to the ER Vet we went! (I have noticed through the years that pets tend to get sick/injured on weekends and holidays, go figure.) She ran some reactionary tests and while his response was a little slow at least he still had them. We were sent home with strict directions for his care, Rimadyl and Methocarbamol. While I do not like any of this medication I know that it is a necessary evil to get him healing and control the pain. Over the next few days I could tell the pain meds were wearing off too fast and he would be uncomfortable, so today we went in for a check up with our regular vet. Eric could tell right away that there were issues - even the problematic area of the spine was very warm to the touch. He took some x-rays so we would know exactly where in the spine and at least have a baseline.  He gave him a steroid and Valium shot to help relax the muscles and get ahead of the pain. We are also going to start the Synovi G3 Soft Chews, 240 Count in his diet. This has glucosamine and MSM to help with repair.

Amos is our most athletic dog so it is very hard for him to be confined to the kennel. He is definitely out of sorts right now, especially since he is used to being very close to me when I am at home. We are preparing for a long recovery process but have high hopes for a full recovery!

Jesse on the other hand is extremely jealous - we had to borrow another small kennel so he could be in one. We experienced 'agressor' behavior with Jesse while getting Amos in or out of the kennel. So instead of fighting or dealing with it I opted for the second kennel in my office...

Here is his real power move - getting on top of the kennel...

Selby could care less, she would definitely prefer to be the ONLY dog in the house.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fun Friday Finds

It's the holiday weekend here in the states and I wanted to share some magazines to take with, whether you are doing the 'staycation' or going out of town. I won't bore you with what my head will be spinning with - see yesterday's post.

On news stands right now

loving this issue of House Beautiful - I have ear marked almost every page

Fall issue - it's all about plaid!

Great room makeovers that even I can do!

Happy Labor Day weekend to all US readers - and it's still happy weekend to everyone else!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

M | Manual Mode

I must get into M mode on my SLR. End of story, must, must, must. I am great in P mode (who isn't?) and dabble in AV and TV mode. So over the next several days my head will be buried into the content from this class (took it last session, but didn't finish) and this book: Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition) I had a shoot last week and I was frustrated with over exposure...gotta be on M to control that and other things!

What happens though when you are forcing yourself to do this on what used to be your handy camera?? You pick up point shoot! HA! I have this camera: Canon PowerShot SD880IS 10MP Digital Camera with 4x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Silver) Not sure why Amazon has it listed for $999 though, that is more than double the price I bought it for last year. But I am loving this little camera right now - I have it in P mode and I can just shoot what ever when ever. Can you tell that I am fighting this whole manual mode thing??

I had a quick trip into Portland today - love downtown/Pearl area. I was inspired/reminded by this gal to bring along my camera and take the every day pictures...

I think that the Portland area really blooms this time of year - September & October happen to be some of my favorite months in the NW.

Back to the books - enjoy life!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

RIP | Ebony

My sister and her family had to put one of their nine year old labs to sleep yesterday. Ebony had been battling bone cancer for several months. I am so glad that I was able to take these pictures of her.

Even in pain she would want you to play with her - especially fetch with her rings...

you will be missed sweet girl!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Knitting & Crochet

I am a self admitted crochet and knitting dabbler. I have various projects at different stages of completion in at least four places in our house. Some have been taken apart so many times I am not even sure if the yarn is still good! But I do admire others crocheted pieces like this one
from Anthropologie...

and this one from the Sundance catalog...

So you can see I was just tickled when I found these vintage hand crocheted aprons! They are in the Etsy store today - be sure to check them out.

If you are like me and love to dabble in this world be sure to check out (if you haven't) this place, the Purl Bee

I am working on this scarf pattern from Purl right now and Kirk says I will be done most likely in 2011. I think it's a little too advanced for me, but I am determined to power on.

And this website has been invaluable to me - it was a link from my friend Lynne. KnittingHelp has great videos that are very easy to follow.

My crochet project has been this on going ripple throw. Inspired by this gal - and check out this group at flickr called Vintage Striped Blanket. I hope to be done with this before Christmas but have it as a summer throw on our bed.

Enjoy life!