Sylvia and my design star

(a 500 word post)

I saw a quote this morning that reminded me of one of my old design instructors. She was an instructor and freelance designer and she was one of the most inspiring instructors. She has an impressive portfolio including being a designer for the Kentucky Governor’s mansion. I have not seen her in almost 20 years but, think of her often.

Most of the time, when I see bad or super trendy design.

She is the reason that I cannot look through an issue of HGTV and have gone back to House Beautiful and Architectural Digest.

She is the reason I have watched Everything But the House for months on end bidding on Walnut, Drop Leaf Tables.

She is also the reason I begged my mother for her Century Furniture Chinese lacquer and inlaid desk (with matching chair) when my mom was re-doing her living room.

Over the past decades, I didn’t realize how often she had crossed my mind until I read the following had to rip it out of the magazine, I think I might send it to her…

This morning I was thumbing through my House Beautiful and I came across an article about an apartment in Manhattan with rich orange plaster walls. Under the title “The Forever Home” it reads:

Designer Justine Cushing has held on to the same uptown Manhattan apartment for decades, and it’s never warranted a reinvention, only an occasional refresh, why? She got it right the first time.

I cannot tell you how many times Sylvia would say the same thing to us. She would tell us how much people SHOULD spend on their home furnishings (a certain percentage of the cost of their home) and as 19 and 20 year old women we would gasp.
Who could afford that???

And she would smile and say, if you do it right the first time, they won’t need to do it again.

And she is right.

If you take shortcuts and do it the quick way or load your house up with Ikea, it will work for THAT point in time, but it won’t be there for your children and grandchildren.

She always said buy heirloom pieces to pass on to your children.

Sometimes I test her statement by picking up old issues of ID or another high end interior design magazine and browse the pages. More often than not, the issues are dated by the technology or photography, not the principles and theories of design.

I also see proof of her powerful statement when I go into some estate sales of homes that have not been updated in decades (the condition of the carpeting and need of fresh paint) yet, people are carrying out the homes furnishings by the truck load.

This doesn’t happen every time, I have also been to sales where the furnishings were bought for the style of the time. Anyone remember wagon wheel furniture?

The spouselet calls this person, the version of myself that has very strong opinions about Design and home furnishings his “Design Star”. It originated after we used to watch the HGTV show. I have opinions.

I have an art/photography star.
There is also the stationary star (the version of me that has a thing for pens and paper).
I know there are more of them-every time I have a strong opinion, it gets dubbed a “star”.

Today, you have met my Design Star.
The Spouselet thinks she is about 8 years old, but she was born in 1989 sitting in Miss Sylvia’s class, learning how to do it right.

Moving a huge chunk off my plate.

(a 500 word post)

I am getting pretty excited, this is day 20 of 500 words a day. Some days I know I could have written more and some days it was really hard to knock out a post. Today, is a bit of another celebration post.

For the past few months I have been working on a project for my “day” job. I have been creating a company book talking about what we offer, the areas we serve and what we do. The first round was so wordy that my Brother in law and I decided that we needed to cut the crap and get down to bare bones, if someone has questions about a service or program, this leaves the conversation open for them to talk to their sales associate.

The management team had seen part of the first wordy version. They had no idea the radical changed that were made.

That was what I had to present today.

I learned Adobe InDesign for this project. I know a bit of Photoshop, I use Lightroom almost weekly so I thought “why the heck not”.

Holy Hell that was a learning curve.

But, it was so fun.

It is one of the things that I love about my job-I can create a marketing piece or we can shop it out. 15 years ago, I did the company website, I loved learning HTML. I had to give over and hire a company when technology go to the point of incorporating live listing data. The only thing I regret about hiring a company-my programming knowledge has come to a screeching halt.

Luckily for me, there are apps and programs that will do most of what I need done these days on a personal level and when there isn’t (or I can’t afford it) in walks my awesome spouselet.

Today was the big meeting.

I printed copies of the almost compete book, there are still a few pages that need additional data and images. I had one for every manager and a “master” correction copy for them to make notes of what they needed updated (proofed) to pass around. Having the master prevented me from thumbing through 10 copies for changes. Besides, I wanted them to have it.

They loved it. Outside of “can you change this word” or “add this program” there was nothing but love.   Working for family can be hard. Working for family when you have other non-family principals can be even more interesting.

This was a huge win on so many levels for me. I felt like Sally Field. I also realize that this post sounds like I am 20 years old instead of 46. Daddy approval is strong with this one.

But as a creative. As an artist.

The layout-MINE.
The photography (ALL the photography minus corporate logos and two banner’s created with corporate stock photography) MINE.

The words-MINE.

I did have input and guidance from a few people in the office, but this baby, for the most part, ALL MINE and it was well received.

Man, I love outside validation.

Oh and I lost another .4 lb.

So, how was your Wednesday?

So tired

(a 500 word ost)

Today is about perseverance.

In the face of adversity and all of that..which is to really say, I am damned lazy and I want to go to bed but it is not even 6 pm.

I don’t know what is wrong with me to day it could be any one of the following or a combination of any of:

I got up early and did the newsletter that I forgot to do last night
I ran three errands across town before 10 am
I rushed to the office to go have lunch at Chuy’s
(May 5th and all that Mexican stuff)
had chuy’s for lunch (which has started tearing up my guts but I eat in anyway-creamy jalapeño!)
rush back to the office to knock out the finishing touches on a company brochure that I have to present tomorrow
used my standing desk the entire time
ran to the chiropractor where the physical therapist/massage dude twisted me up like a pretzel for an hour-then I got all my bones cracked into submission
(why do I willingly do this to myself?)
then I came home and did some things in the office downstairs (again at a stand up desk)
took the garbage can to the street and on the way back started pulling a few weeds that were bugging me…
crawled up the stairs to the kitchen at 5 and fed the dogs-but felt like it was much later
ate some cereal and yogurt
dont remember the last time I took my allergy supplements (might explain the itchy eyeballs)

and THEN I remembered that I hadn’t written for today.  I headed back to the basement and saw that my bar stool (that I use when I am DONE standing up design) was covered in boxes for a project.  I was just going to use my Surface-until I realized that I left it at the office.


then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted my beautiful ole MacBook.  Granted, it is about 6 years old and took about 15 minutes to fully boot AND about 10% battery power before I could type word one…it is humming along now.

So many times in this process I wanted to give up and just go to bed.  Hell, I don’t even have the energy to move this lawn chair so I can recline more while I type.

I wish I had trained my dogs to open doors and use the water and ice dispenser on the refrigerator, because I am out of a drink too.

I think I am dehydrated.

Silver lining-I am sitting on the deck, in the shade of a maple tree typing and enjoying the sounds of the neighborhood with two precious (untrained) dogs hanging with me.  I think they are wishing I would get up and get us all a drink of water judging by the length of their panting tongues.
And the most rotten part about being this exhausted…I have the house to myself and I don’t have the energy to enjoy it.


I didn’t forget about you…

(a 500 word post)

Wow. I am getting a little lax in writing.

Not that I am actively avoiding it, I just have so many other things going on at the moment.

And today, I didn’t plan well. The lack of planning almost wrecked the “500 words” for the day and my food plan.

I got up and piddled around the house, killed a few weeds, pulled some more, watered some flower beds and then decided that I needed to wash the sheets and WHILE I was at it just take our super big king sized comforter (we don’t even have a king size bed) to a laundromat and wash it. THAT is so much cheaper than having it dry cleaned.

See, we have this super big bed cover thing because my husband only likes ONE thing on the bed, if he could get away with it, he wouldn’t even have a sheet. I on the other hand want a sheet, a cotton blanket, my down comforter and if I am still chilly THEN a quilt. Layers create warmth.

He can’t sleep because of OCD. Honestly, I didn’t know when we got married. He can’t sleep if all his covers are not the same sized and aligned perfectly. Seriously…so, that is why one stinklingly large bed spread, if he gets cold he scrunches it up more or something…

The plan was to drive there, wash and dry it in about 2 hours and then hit the grocery before a meeting I had with a friend for an upcoming craft show at 4.

I didn’t take a computer, I took a book. I was going to have blissful quite time to read and journal and plan. What I ended up doing was listening to all the conversations around me.

The day after the Kentucky Derby IS the day to hang in a laundromat for the stories alone. Oh my stars!

I got back in my car at 3:30 and realized that I had not eaten. Not one blessed thing, I had an iced tea-but that was it.

Fortunately for me I was about 2 minutes from Lucky’s Market and ran in really fast and got my Brussel sprouts I wanted for dinner and a few other things (primal beef jerky with pineapple) AND a little container of cheese and pepperoni. I ate the cheese and pepperoni on the way to my meeting.

Whew, crisis averted.

It would have been just as easy to hit a drive through and probably would have cost a third of what I spent, but I would have had a heart attack from all the grossness tomorrow.

After my meeting about the craft show, we decided a quick trip to Michael’s for a few things was TOTALLY part of the planning process so away we went.

I got home at 7pm and made my Brussel sprout and chicken dinner and started making journals for the craft show.

I logged on to check something in email and realized that I had not typed word one today. SO, here are the 500+ words for Sunday.

Sunny Mania

There is something about spring that get me going.
I think it might be the sunshine.

I live near Louisville, KY. It surprises people who don’t live here, but we have the same number of rainy/overcast days as Seattle. Winter is especially hard for me the older I get.

When I was younger, I didn’t understand why people would want to winter in warmer climates. Back then I loved the dark and cold. Now, not so much. I always equated HOT with HUMID and I am was not a fan of humid.

Turns out, I don’t mind humid if I am hydrated.

When I hated heat and humidity, I drank loads of carbonated sugary beverages and smoked like a freight train. I was perpetually dehydrated. So, in reality, my dehydrated body hated being hot-How odd.
(Seriously, some days I am amazed that I have made it to 46 years old without of extensive and comprehensive hospital stays).

Honestly, I am a smart person. I have just had huge gaps in my body self-awareness.

This morning, I am sitting at a local coffee shop with my husband planning the week, doing a little work and writing. We are sitting at the same table we grab every week (unless some uppity jerk gets here first). It near a window and the light is warming my hands as I type. Such beautiful sunshine.

A few years ago, during the winter I was so depressed I could barely get out of bed. This was about the same time I found out that because I quit smoking I tossed my body into an insulin resistance fit of revolt.

I was severely Vitamin D deficient-who knew that being a night out and actively avoiding sunshine could contribute to my health issues AND my depression. The doctor told me that I needed at least 5000 IU a day during the winter AND a UV Light to help with my mood. I got a Phillips GoLite the next week and now I have two “happy lights” one at the office and one at home. Starting in October-or near the time change, until the time changes again, I up my dose of D and pull out the lights.

During the spring and summer I cut my Vitamin D to around 2000 IU. This past winter was the first time in several years that I didn’t sink to the pits of hell. It was sort of refreshing to be able to get out of bed every day without crying.

I know that one day The Spouselet and I will move to somewhere with more light. That is one of my requirements for moving away from my home state. I will not have a lateral daylight move.

When I lived in Phoenix, I used to track the days- I missed my overcast Kentucky. Once, there was over 150 days without rain. Typical in the desert but so hard for me to fathom back then. I would get sunshine manic. Now, I crave sunshine mania.

Are you as sensitive to the light as I have become?

Success feels good.

(a 500 word post)

This week, I was able to go back to my usual weight watchers meeting. Weigh-in Wednesday has been my stability since the beginning of January.

As mentioned earlier, last week was a little disappointing, but not unexpected with the crap I ate. I knew this week would be better. According to my scale I had hit my 10% goal. But at home, I don’t have my “official weigh in” outfit. I can never remember the difference between my scale at home and the scale at the meeting.

I always use the same scale at the meeting and wear the same outfit. I am not sure what I am going to do when this current one no longer fits (because it is falling off my bones)…but I don’t have that problem yet.

I walked into the meeting and set my things down and got in line to weigh in. I was surprised that the woman who weighed me last Friday was at this meeting because she normally isn’t. She remembered me and how I was a little blue that I had gained and not lost-but that I also said that it worked out for the best because I wanted to celebrate with my home meeting.

I got on the scale.

I made my goal. Actually, I kinda crushed it.

I lost the 1.2 I gained the week before AND ANOTHER half a pound on top of that. To date, I have lost 20.6 pounds.

I got the bling. I have a charm that says 10% on it.

But wait, there is more.

I also got a charm that says 4, for 4 months’ worth of meetings.

(I know right)
a 5 pound sticker in my book!

I danced and cheered and had all sorts of fun behind that little scale wall.

I put my shoes back on and went next door to Starbucks and got a Trenta, black, unsweet tea to celebrate. (not really, I have one of those almost every day and then drink water the rest of the time).

The best thing was telling the meeting what I have learned and what is working for me. I told them I EVEN had cake and STILL lost 2.2 pounds. I also told them that I don’t track, I do a modified simply living…

…which means I am doing something completely outside of what their books are telling them.

It means that I don’t buy the carb laden food that weight watchers creates and sells.

I don’t eat much fruit anymore, maybe a “lunchbox” size apple (which used to be the normal sized apple) and when I see a honey crisp apple that is as big as my head, I kind a freak out, but, that used to be my nightly snack.

1 apple that could easily count as 3. I ate one every night with peanut butter.
It was “healthy”.

I cannot even think of the sugar that was in the super-now normal apple I ate every day.

SO, I made it!
Now I have to make it again…

Here is to another 10%-this time I hope to get there before August.

Best laid Plans

(a 500 word post)

I didn’t write yesterday, I even had a story to tell, but then life got in the way or more specifically a Pilot hauling a camper on Interstate 71.

Earlier in the week, I had won an auction on Everything but the House and last night the spouselet and I were going to drive up to Cincinnati and pick it up. We left the house at 4:30 and had to be at the warehouse by 7pm. The google maps said we would get there at 6:05.

We headed up and when we hit the Sligo exit I stopped to get gas because it is always 20 cents cheaper up there than where we live. When we were getting back on the real estate google maps said turn right and then left on something something…

(I don’t think I was listening)

So I turned LEFT and then RIGHT and got back on the interstate.

The spouselet looked at the map and said “well this is odd, it is now saying we will get there at 8:05”

“Oh that is impossible, there must be something wrong, or maybe rush hour traffic that will clear up?”

I started to panic a little and asked him to call the warehouse and see what plan b was. About that time, I realized why the google maps said turn RIGHT and then LEFT and something something I didn’t listen…

Interstate 71 suddenly became a parking lot.

I had time to email EBTH. They had time to respond. I was suddenly very thankful that I had gone to the restroom back at the gas station.

We were entertained by the little Asian man in the pickup truck in front of us, who got out of his truck every five minutes to get something out of the back or put something in the back.

We watched two women try to go up an embankment on one side of the road and think better of it. I think they had on fancy sandals. Then they tried the other side which was less steep. I can’t promise that I didn’t giggle when one of them slipped and slid down the hill (like a slide)-she was ok, so that doesn’t make me the biggest jerk on the planet. Texting my whole family the story while we were stuck in traffic DOES.

Then there was the dude who rode his bicycle down the middle, between two rows of cars… He said “I never thought I would get to do this!!!” I wanted to snap a picture, but he was moving so fast (compared to the rest of us, who had given up and turned our cars off).

There were two men standing beside their cars smoking cigars and chatting.

There was a man with his dog in the truck behind us, he must have known someone 5 cars back because he got out and went to visit and came back with snacks and water for his pup.

I was happy that I had put a few individual servings of trail mix in my car, because otherwise we surely would have starved!

After an hour we started to move. We drove 2 miles to the next exit, turned around and had Japanese for dinner.

I will try this adventure again on Saturday (instead of NOT going to the Kentucky Derby).

Halt! You suspected spammer. Halt!

(a 500-not quite-word post)

And today is brought to you by another email peeve.

I apologize for this automatic reply to your email. To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand.

If you would like to be added to my list of approved senders, please fill out the short request form (see link below). Once I approve you, I will receive your original message in my inbox. You do not need to resend your message. I apologize for this one-time inconvenience.

Click the link below to fill out the request: (and here was a link)

SO, I clicked it and then got this…

ERROR: Unable to process Allowed Sender request.

We’re sorry. Because your original message to the recipient is no longer available, we cannot process this Allowed Sender request. Your message may have expired, or the recipient may have accepted or deleted it. You may wish to resend your original message, and check your email shortly thereafter for a new Allowed Sender Request message.

If the recipient chooses to allow email from your address, the message(s) that have been intercepted will be delivered immediately, and any future messages will be delivered without delay.

This is so-2002.

It makes me crazy to get an auto-responder in this day and age. We all have mobile phones. We all see email as soon as we want to see it. There is no need to immediately respond to every little request, HOWEVER, if you send ME and email and I reply to YOU…and the above is what comes to me, answering YOUR question…I might get a little frustrated.

If this person used gmail (that super cool email option from yesterday’s post) this “approval protocol” would not be necessary. But they don’t. They use something that I was not even aware was still available because I associate it with Netscape. It was about that long ago when my office had an account with the company who generated this “client protection”.

I am an associate of the person who has the service that generated this, but I am pretty sure had I been contacting this person to form a professional business relationship, I would probably go to the next name on google.

Then again, I am assuming that someone using this technology is even indexed on google.

Please think about how you use auto-responding and spam detecting technologies in your personal and business email communications. It really does play apart in how you look in the digital world.


(a 500 –or not- word post)

Today, I am cutting it close. And not to make excuses, but I spend most of the day at the funeral home with a coworker whose husband passed away over the weekend. Actually, because we live in a small town, I know the daughter, the son, the sister, and two nieces. So, most of the family.

So, here it is…

Sometime last week I was reading through a magazine that was written for a much younger and healthier audience. I think I am probably outside this publication demographic by at least 20 years. Many of the articles talked about getting that body back after the baby. Oh hell no and thank you very much!

There was an “ask anything” column that talked about a variety of subjects, one being careers. The person asking the question said that her friend told her that her Hotmail email account as costing her opportunities for new jobs, that there are some email addresses that have stigma. The responder then told her that “YES, your Hotmail probably is causing you to be passed over, as would your yahoo or AOL-in fact, rumor has it that AOL email addresses on resumes get them tossed straight into the bin.”

She goes on to say, NEVER FEAR, just get a super cool and hip Gmail account-you don’t have to check it, just forward it to your current email.

BRILLANT ADVICE, until that forwarding part.

This is one of my peeves. I work with an agent realtor population so I have had this conversation more than once. I never thought I would have to have it with someone YOUNGER than I.

Sure, you can forward your gmail account to your Hotmail account but then when you get an email, are you going to REPLY with the Hotmail account? NO-because the person who thought you had half a brain will suddenly realize they have been hoodwinked and you will end up in the “thanks but no thanks pile.”

So, then why forward it at all and risk it getting stuck in a filter somewhere along the way?

When we grow up, or grow professionally, so should our email addresses. Yes, a Gmail account is perfectly acceptable for this function, but so would Or

If you are serious about a job and serious about your personal brand, then your email address should reflect that level of professionalism.

Side note-and email isn’t so bad either.

(now I need to take my own advice and get a branded email account from my domain)

Jack of all trades

(a 500 word post)

Last week, I joined Michael Hyatt’s Platform University. I read Platform when it was first released and was completely overwhelmed by all the information.

I am pretty sure I have Multiple Platform Disorder. Part of the issue could be that for my “day job” maps pretty close to the sort of things that I like doing for my hobbies. Or maybe because I work for my family I have been able to incorporate my other interests into a job that works for their marketing and communication purposes.

I also have analysis paralysis. I am on a road of perpetual self-discovery. (ok not really)

And while I am typing this, I have all these buzz words from other books I have read. It really is an issue.

I also have a TON of interests.

Jack of all trades, master of none.

I pick up snippets of information and it is always something that someone else needs later in the day…but still, what do you do with that? I am like a walking google. (well- I walk and google)

Here is one such example from yesterday:

Instagram nudity hasn’t really been on my radar. I am not offended by nudity unless it is demeaning, degrading or pornographic. Nudity for art sake- A OK Sister.

On Instagram I follow Beautiful Bizarre Magazine. Often they have images with little stars or bars across nip and parts. A minor annoyance, sometimes I can’t tell if the bar or other covering is an actual part of the image or them censoring nudity to not get dinged by da’gram.

Yesterday they posted an image with some naked female chest and mentioned that they were testing the waters because of a clarification of nudity from IG TOS.  (FYI, that image no longer appears on their feed)

I filed that away in my little urchin brain and went on about the day, until 3pm, I met up with other photographers in front of David outside the C21 Hotel downtown.

Clickin-Walk-2015-Louisville (17 of 24)
Several of the ‘grammers were selectively shooting David with “fig leaves” or whatever trees are used downtown. At the time, I didn’t give it much thought. I shot David from the back, the side and full frontal baby.

Honestly, no matter your opinion of nude male bits, male bits in gold are kinda interesting.

And a few of my favorite images just happened to be from the front, the sky was so blue, the sun was gleaming off his gold body…the hotel was behind him.

I had two images, from the same angle David in the background, and the “downtown Louisville” garbage can in the front. One image was focused on David, one on the can… I tagged the event and said I wasn’t sure which I liked and posted to Instagram.

One of the replies was about Nudity on Instagram….
My brain files back through all my useless data (this time from like 5 hours before) and BLAMO!

2 seconds later I have verified what I heard about “artistic” nudity (which also includes Mastectomy scars AND breast feeding moms).

These little snips of things happen every day. Useless bits of information, until it’s not.

What is your secret talent?