31 May 2012

10 Tips For Planning A Summer of Fun

Have you ever had summers where you find yourself in late August finally having some fun and regretfully feeling like you just let the summer slip through your fingertips? I definitely have. There is something so bittersweet about having a great Labor Day weekend and realizing fall is coming and you didn't have a cookout, didn't go to the beach or lake much, didn't go camping, see friends, take a roadtrip, roast a marshmallow.

Here's the recipe to avoid all that guilt. Plan your summer now. I always find that there is nothing that helps me enjoy life as much as having things to look forward to. Having a fun outing or trip to look forward to always makes the every day must-dos feel much less burdensome to me. It's a great time to pull out the calendar and start planning in fun events for the summer months.

1) Start with your vacation and holiday plans. Maybe your family has an annual trip or tradition you take part in each year. Schedule those in first.

2) Check out local community celebrations. Many of these are free and family friendly. In the area where I grew up there is a parade, rodeo and fireworks weekend in every city within a 10 mile radius at some point over the summer. Every city has their celebration: Strawberry Days, Pioneer Days, Steel Days, Onion Days, there's no shortage of fun things to do. A great way to enjoy your local area.

3) Look for free concerts, outdoor movies, etc. Online you can usually find a community or city calendar for your area. You will find all kinds of events available nearby especially throughout the summer. Many parks, beaches, piers and mountain resorts will host free public events.

4) Look for free talks, classes and workshops. Many business will host bike repair workshops, talks by specialists in different areas, and offer other free learning experiences to the public. The summer is a great time to take advantage of these opportunities.

5) Plan a little roadtip or campout. In most places in the world you don't have to go too far from home to find a great little camping spot or an interesting historical town or new neighborhood to adventure to. Find inexpensive lodging and enjoy a night away from home.

6) Plan to host a party at your home or a local park. Most people longingly wish they spent more time with their friends, but very few make the effort to plan something. If doing something at your home sounds like too much work, a potluck at a park can be accomplished with just a little planning and perhaps reserving a pavillion for your group. No housecleaning or slaving over a hot stove necessary. Plan something. Your friends will thank you and you'll be glad you did. Summer gatherings with friends are those summer events you remember.

7) Schedule in nature time. Find hikes or nature walks in your area you'd like to explore. Think about an evening hike to enjoy a sunset or get up extra early to catch the sunrise from a beautiful peak. Make sure you are prepared with water, food & emergency needs and you let someone know where you'll be then enjoy the fresh air.

8) Visit an amusement park. Rekindle the spirit of your child inside with a silly day at a local amusement park. Nothing says summer like the crowds, the cotton candy, the roller coasters and paddle boats.

9) Organize some craft activities. The warmer weather is a great time to work on craft projects that require drying time and can be done outside. Paper mache, wood projects, dying fabric, creating concrete garden tiles and many other projects are very conducive to warm summer weather and you can make the mess outside instead of indoors. Get your supplies in advance and make something fun.

10) Plan a sleep out in your backyard. This was one of the most memorable things we did as kids in the summer. When we were younger we would make a blanket fort on the deck off of our kitchen and sleep under it. Once we got the mattresses outside it was hard to get us to come back and sleep in the house again. Plus I think we just dreaded the idea of dragging all the mattresses and blankets back in the house and putting them away. Later my parents built a covered deck at the back of the yard and I remember an Independence Day sleep out with movies and late night fun back there one year.

Hope these ideas will sparks some creative ideas and help you plan a summer full of fun this year. What are your must do summer activities and family traditions? Are you doing anything new this year? I'd love to hear your ideas to help inspire our future summer plans. Have a great Thursday!

image by kalanicut

30 May 2012

Wedding Favor Tags in Plum, Green & Ivory


The sub-title to this post would be Simple DIY Project, Painful DIY Experience. Something that should've been so simple, became difficult on every level for a constantly unraveling stream of weird situations.

I've been working on a little project for a dear friend's wedding the past couple of weeks and it's one of my favorite kinds -- Tags. They went into the mail just a few days ago. I love mixing and layering papers to give a wrapped gift just the right punch. Tags are also a great way to make use of all those little scraps of pretty paper you have left from bigger projects.

So when my friend said she could use some help with favor tags for her wedding I was pulling an Arnold Horshack (how about a little Welcome Back, Kotter reference for ya!), hand in the air, yelling "Me! Me! Me! Me!" offering my help.

The first step was to plan out what the tags would look like. I came up with a scheme that would layer three sheets of paper. The tags would measure 3" wide x 4" long. Then the next layer would be 2.5" x 3" and the top layer would be about 2" by 2". On this sheet would be the little printed favor message from the bride and groom.

Next I was off to the stores to shop for pretty papers where I learned a helpful lesson. Most stores don't have stock of more than about 20-30 sheets of any one specialty paper pattern. Since we needed over 200 tags, finding enough paper to make all the tags required choosing different green patterns and then trips to three different stores to find enough sheets of plum card stock. If you have more time, you can pre-order paper in any quantity you need and avoid the big search. Lucky for me I am in an area where I can hit several craft and paper stores within a mile or two of each other.

Once I had paper in hand I could make final decisions about how they would look together and how I would layer them. Then I sat down at the computer and designed a little message and figured out the right size to get as many on one sheet of printed paper as possible. I used two different fonts to give it some character and chose a dark purple font color to contrast nicely with the cream.

Then I put the file on a thumb drive and took the file to the office supply store to have it printed on heavy ivory paper. The trick was that I had to go to three different office supply stores because two were too busy to print 18 sheets of paper for me. Crazy.

My next mistake was heading to the copy shop with my document saved in Word format. Once I found someone who could print it for me, they opened the file and the layout was totally wonky due to the font I chose that they didn't have. I learned this last summer and I'm not sure why I forgot but you should save your file into a PDF file so that nothing is distorted. Lesson learned, again.

Once back at yet another copy shop, as I was reviewing the budget for this project I bagged the purple ink idea. Color copies would be almost $11 and black and white would be only a couple dollars. Since I was already going to be over budget, I dejectedly went with the black and white.

Although the woman at this copy shop was so wonderful, hours later when I got the papers all cut up and was at home glueing them I realized she'd copied the text onto the flat back of the more expensive paper I'd requested. So I paid extra for the pretty textured paper surface to be glued down and the printed surface to look like normal, plain ivory paper. What a drag...

While I glued the three layers together, I would've liked to use foam squares to give them more dimension. When I thought about the fact that these tags would be mailed to the bride stacked together and probably smooshed along the way it seemed like they would be more damaged if they were dimensional than if they were flat. When I considered the additional cost and time for foam squares, that further convinced me to keep it simple.

Unfortunately I think I erased the photo of the final product. The photo above is just the papers sitting on top of each other before anything was glued. I did glue them centered one on top of the other layer. Although that makes perfect sense, based on the photo above you might think I did some weird abstract glueing thing.

One could do a lot of different ribbon options with these tags. The bride is using beautiful purple raffia. Another great option would be a silver metallic ribbon. A beautiful little silver metallic flower with pearl center would be a fun addition too.

So while I took great joy in this project for my beloved friend, I can't believe how many weird things happened in the course of this project. It was bizarre. I'm most happy that I finally was able to get them done and in the mail to her. I'm wishing the happy couple the most amazing wedding weekend and future life together!

Here are some links to other tag projects:

Sassy Gift Tags
Holiday Gift Tags
Pretty Tags From Etsy
From The Kitchen Of Tags

photo credit kalanicut

29 May 2012

Adding A Few Summer Fashion Basics

image via Zappos

Picked these up this past weekend to spice up the summer "fun" wardrobe a bit.  Scored on a good 20% off sale which was great because I just don't see Vans on sale that often. Then I happened upon this super cute navy cotton embroidered top which I thought would make a pretty cute team with the Vans.

Impossible to photograph well and strangely I could not find one photo of this top online. Weird. Anyway it has all the perfect girly elements for summer: light cotton, pretty stripes, fun embroidered flowers, notched neckline. It will go great with a jacket or sweater on a cool night and works with skirts too. Love it.

I did do a bit of surgery on it. I'm just tired of elastic waistband tops. Especially since they are usually too short in the waist for me and just ride up and drive me crazy. So I took the scissors to this top and cut the elastic out. The photo is pre-ironing out all the wrinkles along the hemline unfortunately.

I decided to test drive the combo with some jeans for a Dodgers game Saturday night and it felt just right. Bring it on Summer 2012.

What are you adding to your summer wardrobe this year? Have your eye on something special? Share it in the comments below.

28 May 2012

Memorial Day 2012 Let Us Show Our Thanks

The sacrifices of others is very much on my mind this Memorial Day 2012. I am becoming personally acquainted with those sacrifices. On this day I want to say thank you to all who have served in the United States military. I also want to send my love to the general (who I sadly will never know in this life), the colonel (hope to see you soon) and the LCDR who I enjoy every minute possible with.

We are still a nation at war although the media and many people seem to have forgotten that. There are many families still making great sacrifices and the supreme sacrifice to protect our country. There are still troops being deployed to war zones and families who are long separated from each other. Might I encourage you to remember the neighbors in your community who could use a helping hand in so many ways while their fathers and mothers are serving abroad. There are many places to volunteer your time and contribute funds including VA hospitals, the USO, Wounded Warrior Project or with summer patriotic events and programs in your town or city.

It's moving time for many military families now that the school year has ended. It is very hard to feel at home when you move every two years, especially for kids. Reach out to military families in your community, in your schools and do what you can to help those kids make friends and enjoy heartfelt relationships. When your life is yanked out from under you every two years, it's tough to learn to make friends and survive in the social scene.

Visit the beautiful veterans memorials and cemeteries around the country and take a few minutes to feel of the sacrifice and whisper a thank you across the rows of white markers. Teach your children the patriotic songs of our country. Buy a flag and fly it at home. Stand up in deep respect when you see the flag and hear the national anthem. Sing it. Put your right hand over your heart. 

These are just a few small things we can to do say Thank You to the men and women who have made great sacrifices to keep our country safe and strong. God bless America!

all photos by kalanicut

25 May 2012

Good Posture Never Goes Out of Style

image via

Happy Friday, ya'll! It's been an unusual and interesting week in these parts. Yesterday I saw a man who was probably not much older than me. But his posture was so bad that it made him look much, much older. Whenever I see someone with very bad posture it's always a scare for me to be sure to pull my shoulders back and stand up straight. I don't want to train my spine to be hunched over. It can only get worse as the years go by.

When I was growing up we had a dear neighbor woman who took a special interest in my sister and I because we were tall like she was. She continually reminded us that we should stand up straight in a very kind way. I still think of her whenever I think about posture.

A few years ago I had a friend I worked with who was a yoga instructor. One day we got talking about how important good posture was to us, but how often we found ourselves slouching. After that day it became a running joke to try to catch each other at our desks sitting poorly. Sometimes we would send a random e-mail saying, "Are you slouching?! Sit up straight!" Even after we didn't work together I would sometimes get a "sit up straight" text on my phone or a Facebook reminder about my posture. I still get a good laugh about it and the reminders still come occasionally. To that all I can say is, "Hey Summer, sit up straight!"

Great posture is healthy for your spine, good for blood flow, and displays a sense of personal worth and confidence. A key element to good posture is muscle strength. Yoga and regular core workouts make it much easier to maintain a beautiful posture. Holding your head up high is a beautiful thing and one will catch much more of life and good things coming their way if looking up.

So I challenge you today to think about your posture. Sit up straight. Stand up straight. Remind your family. Set a good example by doing it yourself. It's so good for you and speaks volumes about you before you even speak. Head held high. Head held high.

To help you on your road to better posture, here's a link to Muscle Hack's 10 Easy Ways To Improve Your Posture. Have a fantastic holiday weekend!

24 May 2012

Clearing The Mind, Filling The Soul


Last night late I had the chance to take a walk along San Diego Bay and enjoy this beautiful view. It became a precious few minutes to let the stiff sea breeze clear my mind, quiet my soul, to enjoy the view and to ponder and pray for a few minutes. It was lovely and such a beautiful way to end my birthday.

You can see more beautiful photos like this one at San Diego Photos CA. There are many beautiful angles and views of one of my very favorite places in the world. I always loved San Diego, but I never knew that it would come to hold such a special place in my heart and be a home to my little clan.

Another highlight of the day was figuring out my best hamburger concoction at Five Guys after some experimentation, I didn't eat hamburger for most of my 20s and 30s. So learning to enjoy a pink steak and a good burger are fairly recent discoveries for me. My personal best recipe is grilled mushrooms, bacon, cheese, fresh rather than grilled onions and barbecue sauce. That combination felt quite perfect last night over a mountain of french fries shared with The Man and a crisp root beer.

The best part of my day was getting calls & notes from dear friends and family. One dear woman from my church called. I was so touched that she went out of her way to leave such a sweet message on my phone. She reminded me again how much she had appreciated something I did for her years ago and how much it meant to her. It touched me that she still remembers and so sweetly reminds me of that. It also reminded me of people who've done small, seemingly insignificant things for me, that to me were gigantic, amazing things that helped me so much and were so perfectly time for what I needed.

I am inspired that you never know what a little kindness to another will mean to them. Things that seem like a small act may carve your sweet name into the heart of another for life and beyond. I am also inspired to make sure and always let people know what their kindness has meant to me.

And so, as a good birthday should feel, I felt refreshed of soul, loved and inspired. A beautiful way to go into a new year. Thank you dear ones who have been so kind and loving to me. You are so appreciated.

Thought I'd share a few links about love and kindness. Those things always feel good.
Sharing The Love
Love Letters
Handle With Love
It Must Be Friend Week
Good Friends & Friendship
Gracious Gladness

Wishing you a very perfect Thursday. I am itching to get back home and start working on a few new projects. And I will be able to share the project I told you about yesterday shortly too. I'm feeling a serious need to refresh the homefront. Ready to really shake things up. Changes may be in store.

23 May 2012

A Birthday & Accepting A New Year Gracefully

image via

Today is my birthday. I don't say that so you'll make a fuss. It's just a very quiet confession that I'm thinking a lot about my life, the past year, the coming year and how I'm doing at this thing called life. I always get very contemplative the night before my birthday. And so it was last night.

I actually forgot it was my birthday until my parents text messaged me an early birthday note yesterday afternoon. I was knee deep in a project, more than two hours in the copy department at Office Depot when I got their text. This project has proven to be significantly more difficult that I anticipated, and I am so happy to do it, but can't believe how difficult it's been. It's just been four days of Murphy's Law of things that can be more difficult than humanly imaginable. This project seriously should have taken me four hours instead of four days. So when I finally got it done last night about 10 pm, I decided it was time to put things away and focus myself on my birthday celebration.

I always try to make some grand plan for my birthday, but I haven't today. I have yet to decide on a birthday gift to myself. That is always a must for me. The things I really want most for my birthday and the coming year is peace for me and healing and safety for people I love.

I happened to run out to grab some dinner at about 11 pm and while searching the radio for something to listen to, I came upon a radio station talking about spiritual energies, karma and our life's calling. It only lasted for a few minutes but it got me thinking about my own personal power. I thought about my strengths, my abilities to influence for good, and how much I need to remember and magnify my gifts. I want to think more about those things. That inspired me and gave me a jumping off place for my contemplation about this coming year.

My plan today is to spend some early morning time outside, near the water, overlooking the city. A few moments to pray, ponder, feed my soul and journal. Then I hope to have a lovely lunch later in the day. In the evening, if I am very lucky, I will get to spend some quiet time with The Man. That sounds like a pretty good day to me. Come Thursday, life will jump back to it's "very busy for the next few weeks" status. And I hope I am prepared and able to live more graciously and more gracefully.

Here are a few other tales of birthdays:

Swim Little Girl Swim
A Favorite Birthday Gift
Blue Journal - A Lifelong Gift
My Best Girl - A Surprise Gift

I'd love to hear how you best love to celebrate your birthday in the comments below. I'd love some fresh inspiration for the day! I am sending you my best wishes for your May 23. Hope it is a lovely and inspired day for you. It is my favorite day of the year, after all.

21 May 2012

With Gratitude We Can See Our Blessings

image via

I will confess that there was a short period this weekend where I was not a real peach to be around. Sigh. Sigh and sigh again. Do you ever feel like you don't want to enjoy something sweet now because you know it's not going to last? And that it is just going hurt more when it goes away or ends than never having felt the joy in the first place. What an illogical, dumb, totally normal human thought. And I was having it.

At the end of it, I had a better thought. I realized that if I'm testy about things that have happened in the past, are happening now and are to come in the future, I am totally missing out on all the good stuff today.

I've heard that before, I've known that before, but last night it sunk deep into my soul. I could not have the GIFTS of yesterday (or any other day) if I was in a bad mood about all the things in life I cannot control. I was letting sweet moments go by without appreciating them, letting sweet gestures be swept aside and withholding myself from my own life, my own joy. Not helpful in any way.

When you're in a bad place, it's often helpful if you just sit in that place and start asking yourself why and if your behavior is helping or hurting you. My behavior wasn't helping me or anyone else. Even worse I knew that I would deeply regret it sometime down the line. Not because I behaved so terribly (I didn't), but I because I denied myself precious moments that just aren't available on demand and may be hard to come by later. 

You have to scoop up the sweetness in the moment. It can't be frozen, refrigerated or preserved in any way, but as sweet manna dropped from the heavens we have to pick it up and partake when it presents itself. Refusing to pick up the manna as it falls only means we are going to be hungry and without it later. Doesn't make any sense to hold ourselves back, does it?

So I am going to relearn this lesson for the "i don't know how many-eth time." But see it in a new, brighter, richer way. When God gives me manna I'm just going to go out, pick it up and say thank you. If I stop for a moment and think about it, nothing else makes sense. So I am going to be grateful. 

Here are five things I am grateful for from this weekend:
1) a quiet dinner out
2) a man and little girl who want to hold my hand(s)
3) a few minutes to myself
4) safe travels over many miles
5) sharing an amazingly good lemon cupcake

How about you? Simple gratitudes from this weekend you feel like sharing?

18 May 2012

The Deep Beauty of Friendship

image via

We are well and happy. Life is good and we are so grateful for all our blessings, joys and the love we have in our lives. Right now there are some challenging things going on in these parts. I have had quite a few friends that have been keeping a closer eye on me than normal. I am so grateful for them. My appreciation for these dear ones has been greatly magnified and I have come to call them my "door is always open" friends.

These are the friends whose doorstep you could show up on in the middle of the night with tears in your eyes and they would gather you up and take you in immediately, no questions asked. They would silently find you a bed, take off your jacket & shoes, tuck you in and let you sleep and cry and sit and stare out the window.

They would give you a robe or a tracksuit and take your clothes and wash them and return them to your room neatly folded. In the morning they would nimbly move you out to a rocking chair on the front porch, wrap a blanket around your shoulders and let you rock and rock and rock.

They would periodically appear with a tray of easy to swallow food, cups of tea, bottles of water and fresh tissue boxes. Then they would wrap an arm around your shoulder and plant a kiss on the top of you head before disappearing again with nothing but the sound of the door closing as they returned into the house. And they would wait. They would let you mourn whatever it is that is hurting you. Wait for you to be able to talk, to tell them what happened and to let them love you more and more and help you back to wellness.

Rarely do we need friends on this level, but knowing they are there, just in case everything comes crashing down is one of the greatest comforts in life. Hopefully I will never show up on any of their doorsteps in the middle of the night in tears. But more importantly I hope they each know that my door is open too. That clean clothes, hot tea, a warm bed, and hugs and a kiss are waiting for them, heaven forbid they ever need it. I hope so very much that they know that.

More than anything I want to be that kind of friend. So many of my friends have moved far away over the past five years. I don't have as many chances to show them in person my friendship. But if any should ever show up on my doorstep, literally or figuratively, I will be there and ready. Love you friends. Have a happy weekend!

P.S. Last night I created a new Pinterest Board called Totally Totes. It's full of darling tote bags that have my creative juices flowing. You can see it here.

17 May 2012

DIY-Y-Y-Y-Yes I Think I Might


Well, when I saw this jar at the Hotel California in Todos los Santo, Mexico, I fell a little in love. The size is phenomenal. I like the stand, I like the stature...like it all. The more I looked at it the more I saw myself starring in a one woman show called, DIY Mexican Pottery.

Can you see it....a nice terracotta jar/pot with stand from the local big box store or a local specialty shop...aged a bit with some chalk dust and a little dirt and moss for good measure. Maybe use a little strategic chisel or hammer action to make a small chip or two in strategically random places.

Then I would start at the bottom and start writing something small in all caps that is meaningful...around and around and around. Next I'd just smudge it up a good bit, then I would spray on several layers of matte sealant. Could be very cool.

What do you think? Easy DIY or harder than it looks? Something you might want to experiment with?

image by kalanicut

16 May 2012

Have You Had An Amazing Lunch Lately?

Every once in a while, and often on my birthday, I make a serious attempt to have a really amazing lunch experience. To sit in a place with stunning views with charming people I enjoy and food that puts a smile on my face.

A thoughtful, intentioned lunch takes eating lunch from the duldrums of downing a sandwich at your desk or while milling around the kitchen as you multi-task to a much higher plane. In many countries a meal is art and no matter how simple or complicated, partakers are expected to sit, relax, savor and appreciate. Most people are not so great at this anymore. I'm glad there are people out there to remind us, to remind me.


I recently had lunch at a restaurant on this lovely beach overlooking a beautiful island and water in hues of blues to astound the eye. Chips and salsa were the first item on the menu. We were all pretty courageous salsa fans, but the salsa was so hot that we all had a fiery pepper experience like we'd never experienced. Choking, coughing and crying ensued. Looking more closely at the salsa I realized it was full of blazing hot pepper seeds. Thanks to our host, in short order we had a large bowl of mild salsa fresca brought to our table and the "salsa from hell" was moved to the far side of the table.


Sitting looking at the view, listening to the lapping waves and watching dozens of small fish leaping together out of the water, I was reminded again of the elevated joy of a happy, thoughtful, beautiful, delicious lunch. Taking the time, reminds me of all the good things of life: nature, good company, healthy foods, the ability to taste and enjoy food, eyes to see, ears to hear, loving friends and family, and so much more. I am determined to make this enjoying lunch stuff a more deliberate practice in my life!

Do you have a favorite lunch ritual or spot to enjoy an elevated lunch? Have you taken the opportunity for such a lunch lately? I hope well all get an chance to enjoy lunch in an fantastic way soon!

images via kalanicut

15 May 2012

Mexican Inspired Design - The Hotel California


I've been enjoying the artistic and relaxed nature of Mexican inspired home decor the past couple of weeks and thought I would share a few favorites. The shots in this post are from the Hotel California in Todos los Santos, Mexico and feature some of the best of inspired Mexican design elements and arts and crafts. I love this bright blue, it is so cheery paired with the leafy greens and wood tones.


Mexican style inspired me to slow down. It also inspires the mixing of bolder colors, something that can be challenging for many people. I love the energy Mexican design inspires. I love the value placed on inviting spaces that mix earth tones with dark reds and bright blues and whites. Each of these areas truly creates a small vignette you are just dying to walk into and sit a spell.


Doesn't this path just bid you, "Come, come see." You always want to know what is just around the corner -- after sitting where you are for a spell of course. I love these green and blue striped pillows. They are so fresh against the aged wood and worn bricks.


I love the mix of artistry: paintings, carvings, metal work, ceramics, paints and fabrics that bring each of these areas together so perfectly. Each item stands out on its own merits, but together create a cohesive space that is completely one-of-a-kind and so welcoming.


Do I really need to say anything about how inviting this cool, blue pool looks. Talk about an oasis in the hot desert! A gorgeous, cozy place to cool off. And those are not your run of the mill, blazing hot metal deck chairs. Those are chairs you could really sit and read a magazine in all day long. A perfect place to work on the tan, eat lunch, and nap.


I am such a fan of all the beautiful punched tin lanterns in Mexico. While I was there I saw two men in a small boat transporting a wonderful, large, barrel size metal lantern across the water.  It nearly filled the entire boat. That charmed me to no end and I wished they were making that delivery to me. I can just imagine the ambiance that lantern would give out on a lovely patio at night.

I love a good reed or palm roof top for an outdoor space. These mixed lanterns hanging at varying heights underneath created a warm and inviting spot that seems so perfect to sit in the evening with friends.

There seems to be no end to the big, beautiful old wood doors you find in Mexico. Some with ornate metal grates on windows, metal studs and trims. Ah, wouldn't it be so lovely to have doors like that in your home, rather than the horrible hollow core variety?


All these beautiful design elements, mingled and layered together make for a space that is so visually interesting and welcoming. Mexico has a culture that reminds visitors to slow down and enjoy life, enjoy time with friends, enjoy the view, enjoy good food, without rushing through. The design elements I so love create the places where you want to do that. That is what I love most about Mexican interior and exterior design.

Are you a fan of Mexican inspired decors? Could you implement parts of it into your home or patio? What are your favorite elements?

all images by kalanicut


14 May 2012

Cool DIY Stacking Bracelets

Good Monday morning to ya! Hope you had a great weekend. I'm getting back in the groove after a very last minute few days away. I'll share more about that later this week. For the past couple of weeks I've been a bit obsessed with stacking bracelets. I blogged about it last week with links to some of my favorite looks and great DIYs here. At the same time I pulled out my jewelry making supplies and started fiddling around a bit and made a few new bracelets for myself.

Here are a few that I've made over the past few months. I'm especially enjoying making wrap bracelets that are almost the size of a necklace and wrap around the wrist at least three times. I'm definitely set to make more of those. I like to keep those quite simple, made of leather cord with a charm on it or seed beads with a few color variations.

Next I pulled out all the bracelets I had and started playing with combinations of different colors, textures and materials. I created a stack with leather and silver as the base, pairing up silver bracelets from Mexico with wood and ceramic beads, leather and a charm.

I played around with wood beads and baubles for an even more natural, but beachy, tropical look for more playful days.

Then I added more, silver and bright pony beads. It's fun to see what you can put together from very low end, inexpensive pony beads to very high end pieces you see stacked together in magazines. But it doesn't have to be expensive to get the stacked look to feel stylish and on trend.

For a more grown up, classic look I paired a turquoise three-wrap bracelet with several bright silver bracelets. Perfect for a night out after a day at the beach. This would look stunning against a good tan, right? (Not that any of us like a tan, because, that's bad for us, we know. haa-haa.) This stack would pair beautifully with a simple black dress or bright white summer linens.

How about you? Are you stacking? Making your own? Share a link to a photo of your stacks. Tell us what you think about the stacking trend in the comments below. I'd love to hear how other people are living this fun, summer trend.

P.S. You can check out my jewelry board on Pinterest here. It is full of some amazing stacked bracelet pins.

all images by kalanicut

11 May 2012

Thrift Shop Wood Tray Fix Up


It's been far too long since I did a DIY here on the blog. I think the last DIY I did was the driftwood garland. I've come to realize that to keep myself happy it really pays for me to do a DIY project at least once a month if not twice. It's a great outlet for my creative mind and it's a pressure release from the high energy demands of every day life.

I carved out an hour to get my hands on this wood tray I bought at the local thrift store a couple of weeks ago. It was pretty beat up. I find these old, nasty varnished wood pieces to be really cheap and tacky looking. There is always that moment just after you get started that you wonder if you've made a complete mistake. I definitely had that moment where I questioned myself. But I had the inspiration of the wood bowl I did a couple of summers ago to give me hope.


This DIY has only two maybe three steps but it is time consuming and messy. Basically you want to sand off all the old, beat up, ugly stain. I wore a mask and did this outside. I don't even want to think about inhaling all that dust. In the back of this photo you can see the sanding block I used on all the flat surfaces. That saved some time.


You can see here the contrast mid-process with the sanding. The flat surfaces are pretty easy but the curvy areas require some patience and care. Throughout the process you must brush off all the dust and occasionally wipe down the wood with a damp cloth. When I sand down these old wood pieces I allow the edges to get worn down a bit. It gives it a more rustic, upscale feel. 


The sanding is done. This is pure, natural wood. It's a little drab, but I like the character that is starting to shine through. After sanding, the wood feels like softened driftwood. At this point, I started feeling some confidence that I was really going to like this tray.


I started to apply the beeswax wood rub across the top of the tray. You can see how the character and depth immediately get more interesting. I love this rub I've used on this project, my kitchen cupboards and wood breadboards. I wrote about it when I upcycled a thrift store bamboo tray. You can see here.


Here's the final look. It reminds me of so many gorgeous trays I've seen at upscale home and kitchen stores the past year. I paid $1.99 for this beauty that I will enjoy for years to come. It's oblong shape makes it really easy to use down the center of a table. It will be so pretty with matchstick cut veggies, fresh greens or piles of fresh fruit. I think it will be a great companion to my wood bowl and I hope to keep adding nice wood pieces. These will always be stylish and beautiful with a little thoughtful care. 

I hope you enjoyed this simple DIY and I look forward to sharing more with you soon. I still have the yellow cutlery basket to do something with soon. Hope your Friday is a great one and that you have a fantastic weekend. Sending you my warmest wishes. Thanks for coming by!

all images by kalanicut 


10 May 2012

Mexico On My Mind - Living Simply


I've been thinking a lot about the simplicity of life I enjoyed on two past trips to Mexico. The first trip was down the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula with stops in several small resort towns and a side trip to Chichen Itza. The second trip was a week in the most amazing, big beach house in Nuevo Vallarta. I was so lucky to be invited along on that trip. So lucky.


It was so hot that most days all we did was sit in the pool for 8-10 hours a day and go inside to eat and shower. We had some amazing talks and sing-a-longs in that pool all week and came up with a lot of creative lounging options using a stack of foam pool noodles. 

A couple of days we went driving to see the area and several nights we went out to dinner at local restaurants. It was lovely.

One of the reasons I most treasure this trip is that one of our friends we traveled with died suddenly a few years later. Glad to have those memories with her!


And this is the thing I've most been thinking about. The simplicity of a traveler's closet. That's all the clothing I really need to be happy and blissful at the beach. There's something so amazing about how little you can live with. I think I can list everything in this closet in threes: three shirts, three shorts, three skirts, three pair of shoes and also a couple of pashminas and the necessary underwear. When I approach a closet to get dressed for the day and I see these simple options I know it's going to be fantastic.

Doesn't it make you think about how little you need to live a happy life. Granted beach living does not involve going to a job or living in cold weather, but even then, how much do you really need to have a great life. I'm rethinking my closet at this very moment. I know I can live happily on less. And I think it's fantastic that this is a lesson I've learned by following my passion for travel. Besides seeing the beautiful world, there are life lessons that abound in travel.

all images by kalanicut

09 May 2012

Stacking Bracelets For Summer

photo by kalanicut, catalog by Anthropologie

The cover of the May 2012 Anthropologie catalog I got in the mail last week inspired that I must do a post on all the beautiful bracelet stacking that is everywhere this spring. I always think of the very stylish Courtney Novogratz, who first caught my eye with her stacked friendship bracelets a couple of years ago on 9 by Design on HGTV. It's a colorful look that speaks happy, fun and easy-going to me. Those are three emotions that I always want to cultivate more of in my life.

Right now I'm rockin' the leather bracelet I made several months ago, with a simple, quarter-inch wide silver cuff I got in Mexico years ago and an ocean inspired, blue and green wood bead bracelet I made last week during a jewelry making session with The Bug. The wood bracelet turned out so nice that I'm thinking of whipping up a few more.

Here are other favorite images from the blogosphere that totally make my heart sing with joy for stacked bracelets.

what-do-i-wear:

D.I.Y. Embellished Friendship Bracelets (image: honestlywtf)
Embellished Friendship Bracelets via Honestly WTF
Confetti Wrap Bracelet

And since these are so fun to make and there are so many great tutorials out there, I'll conclude this post with a bunch of links so you can get inspired by all the creativity out there and make some of your own. If you make some, I'd LOVE to see them. I'm definitely going to make more and I will post them for you to see soon.

DIY Wrap Bracelets & Embellished Friendship Bracelets from HonestlyWTF
Bracelets on Pinterest
Friendship Bracelets by Kara of Talkin' Chow Playin' House
Word Bracelets by Happy Hour Projects

Have a great day. Thanks for coming by.  XOXO.

P.S. Here's a follow up post I did mixing and matching bracelets for a variety of stacked looks. Lots of photos.

08 May 2012

It's A Great Time To Plant A Small Garden


As I opened up the patio curtains one morning last week I was stopped in my tracks at how beautiful, green and lush everything looked. Lots of tomatoes on the vine, rosemary looking tall and beautiful and the basil, which was struggling a bit, has gloriously come back after a good trim and some TLC. The thyme as always continued to produce lushly and need regular "haircuts."

I thought this was the perfect time to inspire you to do a little gardening. I have two simple tips from my own past failures -- 1) start small and 2) take a few minutes to study up. It took me 10 years of living in SoCal before I got the smarts to realize I could grow food on my little patios. And taking just a few minutes to learn about the plants I am growing helped immensely in my ability to keep them alive. Best of all the rewards have been amazing.


It is so satisfying to make your own spaghetti sauce from homegrown tomatoes, run out and grab fresh basil for a sandwich or pizza and I love making roasted potatoes with my own thyme and rosemary.

There are a lot of inspiring gardening blogs and posts out there. I encourage you to check them out. Here's a post I wrote last summer about the wonderful crops from the patio. Here are links to some favorite small space gardening ideas.

Indoor Gardening from Shelter Pop
Pallet Gardening from Apartment Therapy
Gutter Gardens by Suzanne Forsling for the Juneau Empire
Outdoor Vertical Garden from Shelterness

Hope this inspires you to put a few seeds in the ground. Happy gardening! If you are already gardening I've love to hear what you love to grow! Tell us all about in the comments below.

07 May 2012

Anthropologie May 2012 Catalog Loveliness


I love getting the Antropologie catalogs in the mail. They are so inspiring to me as someone who loves fashion, home decor, jewelry, photography and nature.  This jewelry paired with the gorgeous green dress is amazing. And the styling with the wallpaper and the lighting is gorgeous. Those Anthro people just continue to maintain the most fantastically inspiring levels of creativity, year after year.


Doesn't this image just make you want to run out and buy more hats. It reminds me to appreciate the hats I have and to take more risks with my headwear. It's funny I never liked myself in hats until The Man said he liked me in hats. Then I looked at myself in a new way and I've enjoyed hats and wearing them with more confidence ever since. Funny how we can build up a dumb, self-critical wall that someone can so easily remove with one or two compliments.


If this doesn't inspire you to see the world and get your feet in an ocean STAT, I don't know what will. A nap, oh a nap in this spot. There couldn't be anything more lovely. Anthropologie definitely inspires us to see the world and make the most of enjoying it.


Anthropologie always inspires me to bring more color into my life and use simple and colorful things to brighten up my home. Gorgeous collection of plates.

This image inspires me to take a few minutes before I walk out the door and accessorize. It's amazing how just a couple of minutes taken to add a little jewelry can take something beautiful and make it stunning, memorable and totally unique. I love it when I take that time and it always pays off in how I feel about myself, how I move in the world and how the world sees me.

If you're not getting the Anthropologie catalog in the mail, I encourage you to sign up. You can order a catalog right here. If you are a vision board keeper like me, this will pay off immediately and inspire you to no end.

Have a great day! Sending you the very best wishes.

photos of catalog by kalanicut, amazing catalog of course by Anthropologie 

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