Thursday, June 30, 2011

Perfect Bathroom

In contrast to the rest of my home, which is filled with color and collections, I like a very neutral and spare bathroom.  I want to feel cool tile under my feet and be surrounded by smooth and uncluttered surfaces, lit by plenty of natural light.  These pictures are of a modern version of my ideal bathroom.  

I have the vintage version of the perfect bathroom in my head; carrera glass tile, claw foot tub and pedestal sink included.  I search old home rehab sales for these items, and I just know that one of these days I will find them.  I am so excited to do my own bathroom rehab when I do!

This post was inspired by the Gussy Sews weekly blog prompt, "Perfect Bathroom".  The images are from Mission Stone & Tile.  I am going to head over to Gussy's linky party now to read about some other perfect bathrooms.  Doesn't that sound like fun?

Thanks so much for reading!

xoxo, Anita

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Wishes and Fishes Giveaway, times two!

Hello readers, and welcome to those of you visiting from Wild Olive! 

I am taking part in a Friends and Sponsors Share Day over on that blog.  If you are unfamiliar with it, I highly recommend a visit!  Mollie Johanson is a talented artist and all around delightful person, and everything she shares is great.

This is what I am sharing there: 

 When Mollie sent her Friends and Sponsors Share Day email this month, she asked us to have it go along with her featured story for June.  Her words were 'think fishes, wishes and making things better'.  When I stumbled upon these fishes measuring cups a few days later, I just knew I could figure out a way to work them in.  Measuring and baking always make me think of chocolate chip cookies; my favorite!  So I picked up a reusable shopping tote to send along with the fishes to the winner of this giveaway and threw in a bag of Nestle Toll house Chips, so that you can make some cookies of your own from my secret recipe. (It's on the bag!)  Doesn't the thought of that make your world just a bit better?  Good luck!

 I love giving things away so much that I am doing this twice!  After you have entered for a chance to win on Wild Olive, enter again right here for chance to win the same items!  Once Mollie has chosen her winner, I will choose a second chance winner here.  Double the giving makes my world a happy place! 

Good luck, times two!

xoxo, Anita

Monday, June 27, 2011

Embrace Fearlessness

Participating in this e-course from the amazing blogger Liv Lane of Choosing Beauty is the single best thing I have done to date to develop my skills and find my voice as a blogger.  This blogging prompt came from her over the weekend in an email:

I'll be writing something revealing about me and I ask you to do the same. Reveal something on your blog about YOU that you haven't shared yet: a personality trait, a bad habit, an odd talent, a fear, a breakthrough, an opinion, a belief. Then come over to Choosing Beauty and add the link to your blog so that others can easily find your post. It's a fun way to build traffic and gain support.

When I first read about this challenge in the course post on Friday, I choose a different topic to write about than what I am about to share here today.  The notes about that topic came easily and filled several journal pages quickly.  But as I re-read the email blog prompt a few moments ago, I knew that I had to write about something completely different.  Something that I have never written about and never speak of.

Some years ago I was grabbed off the street, dragged through a park and down a river bank, and was tied up, blindfolded and raped repeatedly. I was sure that I was going to be killed, but I was left on the rocks and told not to move for fifteen minutes.  The rapist said that he would be watching, and that he would kill me if I did.

But what I just shared with you isn't what I never talk about.  I have spoken about this often.  First to the 911 operator at the pay phone I made my way to, then to the police officers who picked me up to drive me to the hospital.  I spoke to nurses, doctors, detectives, a wonderful reporter who shared my story as a way to help other women, friends, family, the representative from victims resources who came to the hospital, and later to a therapist. 

What I never talk about is that I am afraid.  Every. single. day. of. my. life.  What the rapist took away from me is the ability to look at the world without fear. 

I am sure that many of my friends and family would say if they read this "but you never seem afraid", or "I never knew that you are afraid", or something along those lines.  And I am glad for that.  It is very, very important to me that I not live my life with outward fear, that I not appear as a victim.  There is a very frightening statistic about rape that I learned shortly after this happened to me: 1 in 4 women are raped at some point in their life.  1 in 2 rape victims are raped again.  1 in 2.  Why?  Because appearing afraid, appearing as a victim, makes you an easy target.  So I decided to never, EVER show fear. 

One of the best resources available to women who have been raped is the Joyful Heart Foundation, founded by Mariska Hargitay, star of the long running TV show 'Law and Order, Special Victims Unit'.  I wish it had been in existence a few years earlier when I was attacked, but I am glad that it exists now.  From their website:  "The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse and shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues."  I just can't tell you how much I have learned from and been comforted by the stories of sharing and community on their website.

Do you have a Mantra?  A mantra is a sound, syllable, word or group of words considered capable of creating transformation.  Do you have one?  I do, it's "Fearlessness".  I sometimes wear a pendant designed by Me & Ro for Joyful Heart:

But I wear it because I like it and it's pretty, not because I need to be reminded of my mantra.  In every situation where I feel fear, the mantra echos in my head, helping me to be brave, and to face the world. 

Embrace Fearlessness, my friends.

With love,

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday is Family Day

I love Sunday's.  If you have been here before, you already know this, as well as why it is so.  For those who are here for the first time, I will tell you why I love Sunday's.  To me, Sunday is family day.  When I was growing up (not so long ago, really!) stores, malls, and many restaurants were still closed on Sunday.  We slept in (I was raised my a single mom, so her weekend sleep was sacred!) then went to noon mass before going home to prepare a meal for company, or we went visiting after church.  It was a day for family, friends and community.  We gathered together rather than drifting apart.

In these days of 24/7 wired and connected and working and shopping, I still make an effort to reserve Sunday for family.  Some days we go to church, then either out for lunch, or home to entertain.  Other Sunday's we spend doing things around the house that we have a hard time getting to in our day to day life.

Today was a day for the second option.  We spent many hours working on our landscaping, while resigning ourselves to the fact that  it will be many weeks before we are done.  It is not a sprint, but a marathon;  it does not matter so much how fast we finish, but rather that we manage to finish.

Then we came in, got cleaned up, and made dinner.  We prepared grilled shrimp brushed with BBQ sauce, fresh green beans, and blackened salmon. 

This salmon is a very simple dish to prepare.  Start with some nice thick cuts of salmon fillet with the skin on.  Spray a broiler pan with olive oil spray, and preheat your broiler.  Squeeze fresh lemon juice over each piece, and coat generously with a Cajun seasoning.  I used Emeril's Fish Rub tonight.  Place under the broiler, and cook until the center of the fillet is medium rare.

I hope that your Sunday was wonderful, too!

xoxo, a.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Inspiration for a Friday

I just purchased this beautiful print from the wonderful blogger and and artist, Liv Lane, responsible for one of the two e-courses I am currently participating in; Build A Blog You Truly Love.  While I am sorry to report that the course is closed to new enrollees, she has a lot to offer and you will benefit greatly from her blog, Choosing Beauty.

It wonderfully captures what I am working on in her course, and will serve as a reminder of the journey I am taking with Liv long after we have completed it and moved on to other things.  I have a special place chosen for it in the main living area of my home; I promise to share when I have it hung!

Liv ends all of her emails with "Love and Light".  Such joy radiates from her!  Thank you, Liv, for sharing it with me, and for helping me find my voice.

Have a wonderful evenings, my friends!

xoxo, a.

Today is the first Friday of Summer!

I have been such a bad blogger this week!  I have been busy with two 'live' e-classes that I am taking, which, while having a negative impact on my current blog activity, will have a positive impact on upcoming blog posts; I'll be sharing what I am learning and working on in them here shortly!  
 {{For those of you unfamiliar with e-classes, they basically come in two forms.  What I refer to as 'live' is an e-class with a defined start date and content posted at scheduled times.  These offer the opportunity to interact with contributors and classmates  for the duration of class.  In my experience, the content is accessible for a period of time after the course ends, and then goes away.  
The second form of e-course is the type that, once you purchase it, you are given the login information and all of the content of the course is available immediately.  These are 'work at your own pace' courses, and the content is generally available indefinitely. 
I have taken and am a fan of both types.  I am a fan of printed material in general, which is one of the reasons blogging and I are such a good fit!}}
And now it is time for:
1.   The last thing I ate was       Peach Chobani yogurt with fresh peaches.  I start every day with Chobani; it is one of my favorite things to eat!  .

2.  The next thing I'd like to eat is    a big salad with salmon.  Another favorite thing to eat!  .

3.  The best things     in life are free. Cliche, but true :). Especially hugs and puppies. Actually puppies aren't free, so scratch that. But...they're still pretty great  {Thanks to Lauren for this great answer, which I kept as my own because I agree completely! And thanks also for this fun weekly post on your fantastic blog the little things we do...}  .

4.  Something that makes me supremely and utterly happy is   the fact that it is officially Summer! .

5.  Sports are     something that I love to watch live and in person, but not so much on TV.  Except for Ravens football. Now would be a good time to wish for a 2011-12 season! Please work it out, guys!  .

6.  I miss        tanning in the summer (I've reluctantly surrendered to the fact that it just isn't good for me), driving a convertible, and all of my friends and family that I don't live closely to   .

7.  Right now I am       happy, healthy, and (reasonably) well adjusted!   . 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sharing Thoughts On Living a Greener Life

First of all, cheers and Happy Father's Day wishes to you and yours!!

One of the things that I am most passionate about in my life is finding ways to live 'greener'; to adopt practices and make lifestyle adjustments that are kind to our planet and to the people living on it. 

I learned early in my journey toward the greener life that it is easy to become overwhelmed by all of the information available, and that the process can become daunting to the point of being off-putting.  To avoid the very real possibility of giving up the whole thing, I decided to adopt the KISS {{Keep It Simple, Stupid!}}  method and take it one small step at a time. 

One of my favorite ways to do this is to support independent and local businesses whenever I can.  This is actually pretty easy to accomplish, with just a bit of commitment to the process.  For example, I like to shop at a farm stand or a local farmers market first, before I hit a 'chain' store.  The farmers market concept has developed far beyond just produce in recent years.  Many are operated indoors and year round.  I can get locally produced dairy products, baked goods, meats, poultry and fish at mine as well.  And it is such a nice feeling to be supporting my neighbors and their livelihoods!

 I have also discovered that several grocery store chains maintain a practice of buying goods from local producers.  The companies that do this generally advertise the practice on their websites and in the stores themselves, so it is simple to find out if your favorite store or one near to you is in the practice of supporting it's neighbors.  Check it out!

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Father's Day Sunday!  I am off to have a glass of {Locally Produced!} wine with my mister to toast his day. 

Love to you all!

xoxo, a.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday, again.

1.   The last movie I saw was       'The Town'.  Wow!   .

2.  I want to    go to the beach!  .

3.  Surprises are     fun! The mister makes me so happy when he comes up with a sweet little something to surprise me ~ a dinner date that I did not have to plan, flowers for no reason ~ it is so awesome!  .

4.  The best accessory is   a dazzling, sincere smile .

5.  My favorite warm drink is     a Starbucks venti quad nonfat cappuccino. And I always picture the coffee bar scene in 'You've Got Mail' when I order it!  .

6.  My favorite cold drink is       a tie between Coke Zero and Perrier   .

7.  Currently loving        wedge espadrilles.  I want a pair in every color, and to wear them with everything!   . 

{{Thank you, Lauren!))

Reason is not automatic.  Those who deny it cannot be comforted by it.  ~ Ayn Rand


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stitching Love

Do you love stitching?  I just adore it!  If you feel the same way, perhaps you would enjoy this stitching class that I have signed up for, offered by blogger Mollie of Wild Olive.  Embroidery Project:  All The Details promises advanced stitches and lots of ways to make our work extra special.  It starts on Monday, June 20.  I am excited!  I love on line classes, and this one already promises to be one of my all time favorites.

 Mollie started a welcome page where everyone who has registered has taken the time to introduce themselves and answer a fun question, too.  She also provided the pattern for my stitching work above, which I whipped up in a short amount of time this weekend.  One of the projects included in the class is a frame and finishing tutorial, so I think I will use this piece for that.  The class runs 5 weeks and includes instructions for 15 projects.  I'll be sharing what I am working on, so I hope that you'll check back here from time to time.

{{This post contains my own thoughts, impressions and images and was not written at the request of any person or entity.}}

Thanks for reading!

xoxo, Anita

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Banana Pancakes

Ahh, Sunday.  I have so much love for you!  A day dedicated to faith and food and family ranks pretty high in our world.

We started today off with banana pancakes.  They are so easy make, but taste like you worked so very hard!  And families seem to love the idea that you put a lot of effort into their meal, don't they?  At least mine does!

All you have to do to whip these up for your family is to prepare your favorite pancake mix according to the package directions.  For every one cup of mix (six or seven prepared pancakes) add one mashed banana and mix it in well.  That's it!   Cook as directed and serve with some warm maple syrup.  Accolades will soon follow.

Have a wonderful day!

xoxo, Anita


Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday's Questions, Answered

1.   This weekend I'm       going to a graduation party in Virginia   and      to Blues Alley in Georgetown to see Peter White   .

2.  My last vacation was    our trip to Florida in December for a long weekend. It's been too long since we've gotten out of town!  .

3.  My next vacation will be      lots of long weekend trips this summer!  Among them are a family reunion, a high school reunion and some family visits   .

4.  My favorite way to relax is   with my mister and our 'babies' after a long day ~ on the deck with a glass of wine or watching a show on our DVR in bed with a cup of tea ~ it's all good! :) .

5.  When vacationing one should always     plan for 'unplanned' time. Sightseeing and visiting are fun, but you (I!) also need time to unwind. There is such a feeling of bliss when I am away from home and in one of those moments of relaxation when there is no need to feel guilty that I am not washing something or cleaning something or picking up something. I wish there was a way to bring that feeling into daily life, but there is always that chore waiting to be done that nags at the back of my mind when I'm home. I can always ignore it, but it's there!  .

6.  When vacationing one should never       stress about what's going on at home.  There is nothing you can do about it anyway!  .

7.  The best part about a vacation is       how it rejuvenates you and makes you appreciate your own home once you get back  {{special thanks to Lauren at the little things we do blog for both this great answer, which I agree with so much that I kept!, and for this weekly post.  I always enjoy filling in the blanks!}}  . 
A Friday wish for all of my friends and readers ~ whether at home or on vacation, may you ~ Live Well ~ Laugh Often ~ and ~ Love Much ~
xoxo, Anita

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kitchen Inspiration

My {{dream}} kitchen is:

filled with beautiful colors and light~

food is prepared and served and drinks are poured~

where family and friends gather~

and love is abundant~

Here's to living the dream~~

Happy Thursday!

xoxo, Anita

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Winner, Winner!

First of all, I apologize for not announcing the winner this morning!  My previous laptop had the bad manners to quit on me a few days ago, and the desktop computer I was using while waiting for my **brand new!!** laptop to arrive was not crazy about all of the attention I was giving it, and wasn't being very cooperative today.  So off to the repair shop for some additional memory it goes, now that my brand new toy has arrived.

But enough about me; let's give stuff away!  The winner is:

blandrews13 said...

I follow with GFC. Thanks for the giveaway.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Soup and Sandwich Sunday

I really enjoy Sunday's, and the family togetherness that the day fosters.  This was a quiet Sunday here, with just the mister and I, and the puppies.  We thought about going out somewhere in Annapolis, and we thought about making a gourmet meal.  What we ended up doing was enjoying simple ways to pass the time {I caught up on some reading, while mister played his guitar}, and eating simple foods.

We started with deli meat and cheese sandwiches and homemade chicken noodle soup.  This soup is the misters favorite food, and I make a pot every week or so. 

Then we had some fresh organic cherries, which were amazing!

We finished with lemon bars fresh from the oven.  I cannot take credit for the recipe; I used a barefoot contessa box.  I highly recommend it!  I like that  it calls for fresh eggs, butter and lemon juice; it doesn't taste like something that comes from a box at all. 

I also like having leftover lemon rinds; they make my kitchen smell positively yummy when I put them in the garbage disposal!

I hope that you had a wonderful Sunday, however you spent it.  The main thing is that it leaves you feeling ready to start a new week!

xoxo, Anita

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tea Party Giveaway Update

It looks like the comment issues that Blogger has been having all week are fixed!  And since Mollie has drawn the winner of the Wild Olive giveaway, it's just about time to do it here.  I want to leave it open for a few more days so that anyone who was not able to enter when the post first went up can do so now.  {{You will be entering to win the tea, honey, embroidered tea bag pouch, tea towels laundered and ready for your stitches, hoop, floss and needle pictured here.}}

So, let's meet back here on Tuesday morning, pour some tea and choose a winner.  And good luck!

xoxo, Anita

Friday, June 3, 2011

I love, love, love Friday!

1.   I love       dark chocolate   because      it smells great and tastes great and even the smallest amount is always a treat!   .

2.  A time that mama knew best was     always!  She was right about every.single.thing that she taught (or tried to teach!) me .

3.  My first kiss went a little like this      it was as it should be! First boyfriend, almost 16, sweet. :)  .

4.  My celebrity crush is    Keifer Sutherland. Because he's Jack Bauer.  Enough said! .

5.  My splurge of choice is     clothes, bags, shoes---anything pretty makes me happy!  .

6.  My biggest accomplishment is       being a positive, happy and upbeat person in spite of some dreadful eperiences   .

7.  My dance jam of choice is        anything with a good beat!  . 

Inspirational words for a beautiful Friday:
live with intention.
walk to the edge.
listen hard.
practice wellness.
play with abandon.
choose with no regret.
continue to learn.
appreciate your friends.
do what you love.
live as if this is all there is.
-mary ann radmacher

Thanks for reading! With love,

{{As always, thanks to Lauren, author of the blog ...the little things we do, for this regular Friday feature!}}