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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Calm & Relaxing Beach Decor


There is something about water that just puts me in a whole other space no matter how I feel at the time.  Whether its the visual of pregnant droplets on a leaf or the pitter patter of rain outside my window, its like a tiny slice of heaven, at least to me.  And so, it came as no big surprise to me upon researching the benefits of water elements in the home that water can indeed add healing properties to a space. 





The very sound of running water has been proven to reduce stress in a person by releasing endorphins that create a calmer mood.  And, a calmer, more serene space can lead to a more productive and happier environment for everyone.  Who wouldn't want that?  If you think about it, tropical destinations with beautiful white sandy beaches and clear water are the most popular destinations around the world. Why is that? Its because the the average person dream of living on the ocean front, near to a lake, or some large body of water.  I too would love to be on the beach right now if I could.  Since thats not possible at the moment, here are some of the tips and tricks I employ to bring the calm and serenity of the beach to my home instead.



1. Beach Finds
I love adding beach finds to my decor.  Whether its sea shells, beach glass, drift wood, sand or even interesting rocks, it makes a stylish statement if done right.  Beach finds are so versatile you can display them in just about any room of your home. If you are not confident in arranging your finds, get a glass jar, or vase in a shape that you like.  Tip: The simpler the better.  Put the shells and found treasures in there and you are done. Arranging your finds on a dish is also very attractive in a space.



2. Beach inspired Photographs and Paintings 

Another look I absolutely adore is a series of pictures of the sea in its various moods or one huge piece of Art depicting the ocean.  Its so relaxing to look at and the colors are just breath taking.  If you prefer to have paintings of shells or fish, this also works just as well, since your brain will automatically think of the ocean and the beach just by seeing corresponding objects.  How amazing is that.

3. Desk Top Water Fountains and Fish Tanks
A friend of mine bought me a desktop water fountain, and I loved it!  It was only about four inches wide and five inches tall but it made my day every day just to have a little piece of therapy in the middle of a chaotic day. Its definitely the gift that keeps on giving.  If you are able to get one of these its the best.  Another popular way to bring the beach to your home is through fish tanks.  Not only is a fish tank great to look at, you will also literally add new life to your home.  In my my opinion its these personal touches that makes a house a home.


4.  Hard Cover Books and Transparent bottles


This is the last tip/trick but not the least by far.  Being a glass lover myself, I think pairing the smoothness and transparency of glass with the simple angular shape of stacked hardcover books is just divine. Furthermore the books  because they are on beach related topics often have photographic compositions on the front that can add to the look you are trying to capture.  I loved this look so much I even created my own beach glass mosaics from sand, beach glass and shells. Hopefully this post will inspire you and motivate you!. Sometimes the most precious and beautiful things in life is right at our finger tips. It is our Inner peace and calm that allows us to focus on what's most important to us.  So, here's to peace and relaxation!






All beach photos were taken in Long Island, Bahamas.










Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bird Powered Fashion & Decor Ideas


One of my dearest and best friends is hopelessly head over heels in love with birds.  She is so enthralled will them that every time I see a bird or anything pertaining to a bird I think of her. Over the last ten years of our friendship I myself have developed an even deeper appreciation for our feathered friends because of my friend Pauline.  She was right, birds are amazing.




From Fashion and Art to Science and Technology, birds have been an important source of inspiration for many centuries.  And since there are so many different types of birds and color variations, its easy to see why people all over the world are so fascinated by them.

Whether its a piece of Art, a bird's nest, or even a bird inspired color like robin's egg blue, adding a bird related piece/motif is a great way to bring a little bit of the outdoors inside.  Also, its simply gorgeous and a wonderful way to add texture and a pop of color to your decor. So, if someone gives you "the bird" in the future, don't get so offended......after all birds are fabulous!









The pictures in this post is courtesy of:  

Friday, January 21, 2011

In Pursuit of Happiness And Good health

Though I am usually a pretty calm and laid back person, there is one thing that can causes me to become unglued, and that is a health scare.  I literally go from zero to panic mode in two seconds flat.  Since I am a very strong person spiritually and emotionally, this is very perplexing and out of character for me. What is this weird gravitation to self diagnose on the web for every blister, bump or pain I get.  Am I the only one doing this? 
A few years ago I had developed a very bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome, at the time I had no idea what it was so of course I googled the symptoms. Big mistake.  Google basically informed me that I had Parkinson's disease and I was convinced that this was true.  I was inconsolable.  Thank God I was alright after a few days but since that episode there has been other occasions where yet again I did the same thing.  Am I not a woman of faith? This is one habit that needs to be permanently kicked to the curb! 
Yesterday I had an epiphany or what Oprah refers to as an "Aha moment".  I had a pain and was googling it as usual.  This time though, in the midst of my search it occurred to me that I could either choose to believe that I was in good health or look for reasons to prove I wasn't.  It was only then that I truly got it.  If Life is what I make it then I choose to be happy and in good health.  I am going to laugh more, sing more, and dance more.  And, instead of promising to start exercising tomorrow, I will do it today.  Now where did I put those dumbbells....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Free At Last!


 So I really tried soooooooo hard to put my big girl drawers on and not complain about the  snow storm that bombarded us here in Atlanta a week and a half ago. It left a lot of us sequestered in our houses and wreaked havoc with traffic, business and so much more.... but I tried to be optimistic since I had such a blast when it snowed on Christmas day!  After being in the house for a whole week though, I cannot express to you my level of happy, the snow-a-thon is finally over!  Am sure my son is even happier, being locked up in a house with a deranged claustrophobic person is not exactly a fun experience.  


By day five of my imprisonment confinement, I could'nt take it anymore.  Despite being told not to leave the house, I decided to do it anyway.  Afterall, I was only going as far as the mailbox.  What the heck, this is Atlanta not Alaska!  Okay, so I carefully navigated my way to the mailbox crunching along through the white stuff and I was feeling pretty good about it until I stepped on something that felt like the equivalent of baby oil on glass.  Yes my friends, that would be black ice.  I went down like a sack of potatoes. Suddenly everything was in slow motion, I can even remember thinking as I went down, "Man, I sure hope the neighbors is not seeing this!"  Now I can tell the story with a smile but it was so very embarrassing at the time.  If there is any good in this at all though, it would be that I limped away with bruised pride and a sore right arm but no broken bones.  And next time I will listen to good cautionary advice. 
Well, fast forward four days and I am finally able to resume my life as I knew it. Full mobility included!  Its amazing how you never appreciate the little things until they are taken away.  I am enjoying it all, especially the "non slip" trek to my mailbox.  
Photos: Courtesy of  www.wkrg.com, and http://riffenberg.wordpress.com 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fabulous Finds Of The Week!

Whenever I get even a few minutes of down time, my guilty pleasure is browsing the net for beautiful things.  Since I adore one-of-a-kind handmade items, Etsy is my playground.  This site is home to some of the most talented and creative people on the planet. Well, as usual, Etsy did not disappoint.  Check out the goodies I found!


I am a sucker for texture and a pop of well placed color so these plates and bowls had me at hello! Are you kidding! 




















These original porcelain pieces were made by Lois Aronow with careful attention to form, function, color and texture. They are visually stunning and very practical. You can put them in the dishwasher just like any other dish! Now how about that!
Visit the store for more information. 





 Now its not every day that I come across an artist with the same love and passion for glass that I have and who also creates pieces that I would trade my pinky finger for.  Well, almost.  Take a look at these beauties and you will see why I am tempted!  

These amazing looking wall pieces were made by Michelle Prosek  and was inspired by organic forms in nature, the clean lines of geometry, and architecture.  Michelle enjoys pushing the boundaries of what glass can do and she is an inspiration to me as an artist.  Quite simply, she rocks!


Check out Michelle's etsy shop or her personal website for more info.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Follow Your Dream


Even in my earliest memories, I recall that I always wanted "more" from my life.  More fun, adventure, love, laughter, education, freedom and more creativity especially.  I am an optimist at heart so I believe its possible to achieve all that you desire as long as you are willing to work for it.  For some people success is "all about the Benjamins"  but that has never been my focus, perhaps to my own detriment.  Its been 10 years since I decided to follow my dream and live my life with NO REGRETS.  What a ride! First stop, come to America and study for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic design. Check.  It took me 4.5 grueling years to do mostly out of pocket but its done nonetheless. Next up,  Start my own company. Check.  Its still a baby but its my baby.  The next thing on my list was to move here to Georgia. Well, thankfully I was able to put a check mark to that on July 16th, 2010.  I have never cried or laughed more than in these last ten years. My life is exciting, fulfilling and challenging and despite the doubters, haters and many obstacles I face, I am still determined to reach my goals. Every single one of them.

One thing I have learned along the way is who my real friends and supporters are, it has truly been a blessing in my life. It is often said that hard times reveal character and I totally agree. It not only reveals your true character but also the characters of the people around you as well. I am grateful every day for my small inner circle of friends and family who have been there for me.  There is nothing I wouldn't do for them.


My next gaol is to launch my fashion line (Wanda Mcphee) in the fall of this year.  There is so much to do and so little time and money but I know God will make a way.  I truly believe in my vision and God's ability to bless and sustain it so I am excited to see how everything will work out.  There is nothing impossible with God. You do not have to settle for less than what you want out of life.  Figure out what you want, make a plan, and as of now start making steps toward it.  Even baby steps is progress. I know this from experience.

 If you are reading this and can identify with my life and struggles, be encouraged.  Each new day is a another opportunity for something wonderful to happen in your life.  NEVER GIVE UP.  I'll see you at the top.

(All art pictured in this post is my own and is a small taste of what is to come later in the year)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lamb and chick pea salad, my new fav!


I love salads so am always on the lookout for new recipes to try.  When I found this one on womansday.com I literally stopped in my tracks.  I mean look at this!  It is drool worthy. This salad is my new favorite, try it and let me know what you think!  
INGREDIENTS


2 zucchini, sliced
1 red capsicum, seeded, sliced
180g lamb fillet
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
420g cans chick peas, drained, rinsed
50g baby spinach leaves
¼ cup roughly chopped fat free semi-dried tomatoes
2 wholemeal pita bread, toasted
DRESSING:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to moderate, 180°C . Line 2 oven dishes with baking paper.
  2. Arrange zucchini and capsicum in single layer in dish. Spray lightly with oil. Season to taste. Bake 30 minutes until softened and lightly golden.
  3. Meanwhile, place lamb in second dish. Spray with oil and season to taste. Bake 15-20 minutes. Rest, covered with foil, for 5 minutes.
  4. DRESSING: In a jug, whisk all ingredients together.
  5. In a large bowl, combine vegetables, chickpeas, lamb, spinach and tomatoes. Drizzle over dressing. Toss lightly to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve torn pita bread.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Update, Organize And Refresh Your Home Office. Yes You Can!





If I were a super hero, my kryptonite would be clutter.  Put me in a very disorganized and chaotic work space and if I cannot get it fixed pronto, I melt down like ice cream on a hot plate.  I know, it sounds crazy but its true.  With this firmly in mind I decided to revamp my home office.  When am done it will be functional, stylish and tailor made to fit my personality.  I am so excited!

Personally, I only want the bare essentials on my desk like the computer, phone, and a note pad.  Everything else usually is within arms reach but organized in a drawer out of sight.  My only exception to this is if there is shelving above my desk.  These shelves can be used for storage and to stylize the office as well so I add personal things I enjoy like beautiful hardcover books and my favorite pottery.  Items like framed Art, potted plants, and other momentos are also a great choice to personalize an office.  Be careful not to over accessorize though, make careful selections for your display. Remember:  Its harder for something to stand out if everything else is clamoring for attention. 




Easy Tips & Tricks


1.  Desks, metal and wood filing cabinets can often be updated with spray paint.  


You can also improve desks and define the space by covering drawer faces and walls with wall paper.  If you a have a desk that do not match your filing cabinet, try one of these ideas for a more unified look.  Tip:  If possible, put your desk near a window that overlooks the  garden or scenery you enjoy for added tranquility and natural light. 







2. Storage is vitally important to keep your office organized, clutter free and it can also add personality to your work space.  Stop looking at storage bins/units as just a necessity and challenge yourself to embrace the creative possibilities.






3. Trash containers used to be another of those office necessities that you just buy and use without much thought.  Not any more. There are so many stylish trash containers available now, so buy something you really like.

4.  If you have a wooden desk that is a little dated or scratched, why not spruce it up?  You can paint it a beautiful color of your choice, add a glass top, even decoupage it.  The sky is the limit.





5.  Define your office space by using a free-standing decorative screen, wall art, or an area rug.







Whatever improvements you decide to make to your office, remember to enjoy the experience.  After all this is one makeover that will bring you countless returns! Literally.

For more ideas check out these links






Saturday, January 1, 2011

Knock Knock.... Who's there? 2011!!!


Wow!, its 2011 people!  I am lovin this year already.  I didn't go anywhere New Year's night, I decided to watch the celebration on television and reflect on where my life is going and how I can better maximize my potential in the new year.  Yes, I was prepared to go there.  A funny thing happened just before midnight though that totally cracked me up and put me in a completely different emotional space.  Well, I was watching Bravo TV "watch what happens live with Andy Cowen"  He hosted a new years party with guest appearances from the various stars from Bravo and other celebrity guest.  Anyhow, what was funny was as it got closer and closer to midnight some of the guest and even Andy himself seemed to get more anxious and excited as the minutes started ticking away, almost as if they they couldn't wait until they made it to the new year. What was even funnier was almost every other channel I switched to people were waiting with bated breath for the last few seconds to elapse.  Kinda like...oh my gosh, its one minute away.....45 seconds....oh I can't stand it, what if we don't make it.  It was hilarious! The facial expressions especially was priceless.


Let me just say that I totally get the fact that going into a new year is a wonderful blessing that many who was with us last year did not have the good fortune of experiencing.  Unfortunately, I know this only too well because I have personally lost love ones.  The only reason I found humor in this at all is the fact that a lot of the people were drinking excessively and partying really hard but at the same time praying to God to make it into the new year. For what I thought, to party and act the fool some more? The irony of it all was pretty funny. I wondered what God thought of this.  Some of these same people were cursing profusely, totally wasted and clutching wine or liquor bottles as if they were a life line. I sincerely hope for them that 2011 brings clarity and strength to stop doing potentially destructive things in excess.  Too much of anything is not good.

While am on the subject I also want to acknowledge all the people I saw on television New Year's night who made me feel all warm and tingly inside. Like the world is still indeed a very wonderful place  because of all the beautiful souls in it. There were mothers holding their precious little babies, older people with their spouses holding hands, smiling teenagers and all around a sea of beautiful humanity. Everyone seemed focused on just enjoying good food, music, friends, family and being together in the moment.  I decided to do the same.