Saturday, June 26, 2010

RIP Domino Magazine.... Though It's Been A While.

Let's face it, I am a magazine freak. There have been times where the stacks of magazines next in my bathroom have piled almost as high as the sink itself. I just love magazines that much. As a girl, growing up in style-obsessed L.A., my favorites were Vogue, Glamour and Harpers Bazaar, though occasionally Sassy did make it in there (I was still a teenager, after all). As an adult, Lucky graces that list.... Every. Single. Month. As do Real Simple, Martha Stewart, and Glamour still. My tastes have evolved, but some things, like my voyeuristic love of Do's & Don'ts, never change.

The much missed, out of publication (for a while, I might add) Domino Magazine was an offshoot of Lucky, and dedicated to providing stylish, offbeat and eclectic design ideas and advice. They were to interior design magazines what Etsy is to artisinal websites. Always off the beaten path, they toured the chic, and sometimes quirky, homes of such inspirations as Zooey Deschanel, Claire Forlani and Amanda Peet. Sigh. They offered practical advice, but it was always tempered with a healthy dose of whimsical and offbeat style. And I really miss that combination, that just can't be found in other decorating magazines. Other's remind me either of my grandma's magazines, i.e., Better Homes & Gardens, or are too out of my reality, i.e., Architectural Digest. Domino blended the best aspects of both of these, with a taste that was perfect for a trendy 30-something single gal. Again, sigh.

As I'm trying to make the most of my little one bedroom walk up, before my housesitting gig this summer ends and I actually have to live there, I long for the inspiration that Domino would so often provide. Finding old issues on Ebay isn't as easy as you'd think. It seems that most people who appreciated the magazine as much as I did, were smarter than me and didn't part so easily with their past issues. Sadly, mine always made it out to the recyling bin, each month, as I cleaned out the bathroom of it's glossy stacks. Hindsight, in this case is definitely 20/20.

In an attempt to find a suitable replacement, whether online, or in print form (which old fashioned me prefers), I've discovered a few noteworthy blogs. They're no Domino, don't get me wrong, but moderately inspirational nonetheless.

In a nod to my old, much missed, home decorating friend, here are a few of those links, for your entertainment, and perusal. RIP Domino - you are greatly missed.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sexy Back II

A few weeks ago, I published a post called "Bringing Sexy Back", in which I laid down a whole bunch of things that I think are hot. At the time, I had stumbled upon a friend's bedroom, and in it, he had a stack of books by his bed, which was rumpled and messy, and on top of the books lay the glasses I had never seen him wear. There was something so cerebrally, insanely sexy about that sight - that taboo little peek into his sanctuary - like glancing into his soul and seeing something unexpected. Wow. It just got me thinking is all.

Shortly thereafter, one of the most spirited, loving women I know, M., followed suit, and posted on her blog things she finds sexy too. It seems we're a bunch of passionate spitfires, us single women! Some of what she wrote really resounded with me, and I thought Oh yeah, why didn't I write that? and some of it was like WHAT THE HECK???

All of it, however, made me think that as I've gotten older my tastes have changed so much. My style, my type, my interests, whatever you want to call it, have matured, as I've matured, and with it certain character traits in a man are more important to me now than they were, say 15 years ago. Long gone are the days when "Listens to Depeche Mode" was high on the list. Now I think things like "Is really good with kids" and "Knows what he wants and is willing to work hard for it" are in the top ten.

I realize too, that ever since the big relationship of my 20's, how I fall in love has changed as well. Though physical attraction is a necessity in the long run, it's not necessarily a strong deciding factor at the onset. In my 20's I met a man and fell for him heart and soul, not because of his dashing good looks, but because of how he treated me - his kindness, openness and encouragement. As a matter of fact, at the time I remember thinking he's old! And he was. But he was better to me than any man in my life had ever been, and that made him more attractive than the hottest of movie stars (Ummm, Gerard Butler anyone?). Things didn't work out, in the long run. Obviously. But to this day we're still friends and his support and friendship still mean a lot to me.

Since that time, I've learned that it's the heart that draws me in; the character, the soul. If a guy is funny and can crack me up, he becomes way sexier, in my book, than if he's tall or has kind eyes (though tall with kind eyes definitely helps). Someone that has a kind, generous and patient spirit is far more attractive than someone that has chiseled abs and a perfect head of hair. As a matter of fact, truth be told, I'm not much into chiseled abs, or a perfect head of hair. I like guys who you can cuddle up and watch a movie on the couch with, and who don't feel like a marble statue (Sorry all you Team Edward friendies out there - I prefer the heater of a Jacob, or better yet Charlie!!) A perfect head of hair is over-rated, since chances are it will be gone in ten years anyways. Gimme the guy who likes a good home-cooked meal, or better yet adores my cooking, and I'm a happy camper. Gimme someone who spends more time investing in other people's lives, than investing in his body at the gym, and I'll give you a big smile and a swoon. Patience, tolerance, kindness, generosity, laughter, humility, goofiness, a willingness to show appreciation, intelligence, good old fashioned chivalry - those traits don't fade, sag, wrinkle or grow old. Ever.

Outward beauty is the only investment that is guaranteed to not pay out in 20 years. The gorgeous humanitarian Audrey Hepburn once said “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

Sexy is good, but sexy doesn't last. Character and soul, or as M. said "an open mind and a soft heart", are far more valuable in the long run. And a stack of books by an unmade bed, glasses on your day off, and a stolen kiss, those don't hurt either.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Love Inspirations

As I sat down to write tonight, I almost started this post with "Everyone has a style inspiration" but then I remembered the woman at SuperTarget today with the much-too-tight brown polyester pants and the blue, long sleeved, knit polo that was just a tad too short, leaving her stretch-marked front/muffin top peeking out like a big glob of unbaked whole wheat bread dough.

Apparently, not EVERYONE has a style inspiration, much less any style to start with. Or taste, or class, but I digress.

As I finished painting my apartment yesterday/today, and have begun to move furniture in, I've been trying to determine what my "style" is, when it comes to decorating. According to my much coveted Domino Guide To Decorating book, I'm "laid back, glamorous, traditional but with a twist". Sounds about right. No matter what I am, I know that as I begin to create a warm, inviting home, where I can both entertain guests and retreat from the world, one thought is consistently going through my mind - WWHD? What Would H. Do?

H. for those not in the know, is a dear friend, and someone who's generosity, intelligence, and far-reaching love are as abounding as her sense of slightly bohemian, slightly urbane style. When I first met H, a few years back, I was quite intimidated by her - she's just that cool. But as I've become her friend, over time, I can now see that she is not the least bit scary, but on the contrary is hilarious, down to earth and sincere. Whenever I get to spend time with her, I'm always in awe of her; both in her home, her wardrobe, and her many, many talents. Seriously, the girl's got mad style.

And now, she's my total apartment style inspiration. Every time I ask myself Is this print too much? or Is this color pairing going to clash? I just think of her home, with it's bright chartreuse piano, and eclectic yet coordinating mix of fun pieces. I think WWHD? and then I take a more daring step, knowing that somehow it will all come together. So, this post, is a huge, grateful shout out to H..... without you, what would I do? Seriously, thank you!!

Another person who's been my style, and well frankly, life inspiration lately is C. C. and I went to college together, a million years ago, and even then she was intimidatingly cool and above the rest of the crowd with her devil-may-care attitude. I sometimes wonder if she even remembers me, though I admittedly online stalk her, through the two well written and fascinating blogs she pens. I'm not sure if it's because she lives in Oregon, where I sometimes really long to be, or if it's because of the amazing I'm hipster cool without even trying vibe she gives off, but there's just something so charming about C., that I long to channel and project. Did I mention she's a great writer? Well she really is!

Tonight I was able to catch up on her blog, and get the latest news of her & her husbands long awaited journey into adoption. As I read of the joy and love she feels for her yet unmet 2 year old daughter M., I started to sob. I realized, both C. and H., have something much deeper, much more potent, and much more eternal than just a great sense of style in common - they have hearts so full of love that it just overflows into the lives around them. These two women are not just beautiful faces and tags or labels on a piece of clothing (though my heart did do a casual little flip when I read of C. purchasing skinny jeans for her incoming toddler). They're much more than the images they convey. They are beautiful, loving, caring women, and they are faithfully heeding the call to care for orphans and widows, which is a beautiful and noble thing.

I'm insanely jealous, but in the most non-jealous, non-mean, totally supportive, love-you-both-so-much kind of way. Here's the deal kids - I may look up to these two women for the class and style they exude. But at the end of the day, what I really look up to these two fantastic women for is so much more than that. I admire them because they are just awe-inspiring people with hearts, that like my own feeble one, are ready to give love wherever they can - to the neediest, the poorest, the most forsaken and forlorn. And they share so much more in common than they, perfect strangers in this small little world, will ever know.

Yeah, I want to be stylish. Yeah, I want to be modern, traditional, urban eclectic chic. Yeah, I want that adorable new pie plate from Anthro. But what I really, really want - what I covet, what I long for and desire - is to be a woman ready to give my heart away, at the drop of a hat, to the next underfed, underclothed, underloved child that God puts in my path. I too want to love on a child not my own, but not anyone else's either. I want to follow in their steps someday, and bring a motherless child into my life and home.

And when I do, I'm gonna throw style caution to the wind and let them spill on the buttery leather sofa, and color on the Robins Egg blue walls and make mud pies in their adorable little Crewcuts. Because you know what? Some things, like love, never go out of style.

Monday, June 07, 2010

A Wonderfully Good Day

I'm not sure if it's the fact that tomorrow is my birthday, or that it's just a gorgeous morning out, or that I kicked ass at the gym this morning (that AFTER my morning excursion with W & her darling dog Bue).... but I'm in a flipping great mood!!!! Maybe it's that I'm sitting here at Dunn Brothers, just sipping my Organic Green Tea with honey, and all of a sudden my favorite Death Cab song comes on, making me smile. Or that I found a $5 wedged in between my seat belt and car seat this morning.

Here's the deal though - this song would have come on whether I was in a good mood or not. It would still be a beautiful morning, despite being a Monday, whether I chose to recognize it or not. Me being in a good mood doesn't make good things happen - but me being in a good mood opens my eyes to seeing the beauty and joy around me.

How many times do we go through life, like sad Charlie Brown, dejected, head down, feet dragging and the Waaah Waaaah song playing in the background, missing the life that is going on right around us? More often than not, there's a relatively valid reason for our Debbie Downer outlook too. Yeah, life can suck sometimes. But life can be glorious too.

Yeah, yeah, I might sound like some peace-loving, daisy chain wearing hippie, but I think this concept is true. There is plenty to be happy about, grateful for, enamored with, in this life, if we just stop to look for it. Sometimes it's as plain as the crooked nose on an old friend's face, other times it requires searching out. But I guarantee you it's always there and always worth the effort it takes to find.

Today won't be perfect - my neighbors are too loud, and my legs are SORE from running Saturday and dancing Friday. But I can look at life with cloudy grey glasses and complain about those things, or I can remember that I have an adorable new apartment that I love, and got to dance my heart out with friends the other night. It all depends on how I choose to see it. Outlook baby - it makes all the difference.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Random Randomness:

I'm feeling rather random today. Thoughts keep popping into my head, during the week, and I think Somehow, I must get that into a blog post. But sometimes these little smidgens aren't enough for a post of their own. Therefore, random ramblings:

- I think my favorite love song post-1980 is Everlong, by the Foo Fighters. Double points if it's the acoustic version.

- Pre-1980 it's definitely You Do Something To Me, as song by Ella Fitzgerald. Or maybe Paper Moon by Nat King Cole. Really I'm a sucker for either of the Coles (Porter, or Nat King).

- I am a sucker for Snuggle laundry softener. I absolutely adore the smell of clean laundry. And anything Cucumber Melon, in the summer.

- I'd rather lose my ears than my breasts. True story.

- Like my freak mirror, K, sometimes I think in Facebook statuses. True story again.

- Though I like to think of myself as mostly tolerant, and urban, truth be told, I hate city noise. Especially when generated by loud, uncaring, uncouth people who feel the need to talk loudly in libraries and play their music at eardrum shattering decibels, when they live in an apartment building. Gimme the quiet solitude of the country and small town life any day.

- I could nap everyday and be perfectly content. And no, I don't have mono and I'm not depressed.

- Most days I like children much, much more than adults. Less drama, more innocence, and hardly any pretension. Plus you can throw them around and they smile a lot.

- I really, really want to be a writer, but I have no idea where to start, other than this blog. Diablo Cody is kind of my hero, and she's gorgeous! I don't want to follow in her footsteps per se (sorry, no stripping career for THIS girl), but I admire her chutzpah and style. Second only to baking, in my life, writing is something I'm both good at, and feel utterly at home doing. *Sigh*

- So, if I can't be a writer, I want to be a bakery owner. Who knows, maybe someday I'll do both. But for now, I am just itching to start my own bakery and call it Hello Sugar. I want to make adorable cupcakes with sugared violets and lemon drops on top, and towering, frosting heavy, multi-layered cakes in interesting flavors like Lychee Green Tea and Coconut Almond Caramel. I want to name the cupcakes after my friends, and also make home made candies too. If I could do this, while married, raising a baby, and living in a beach house in Portland, Oregon, that would be sheer heaven. But I'll settle for single, in Minneapolis, with the option to adopt and hang pictures of my adorable adopted baby all over the store.

These are all little random tidbits that have been floating around in my mind like cottonwood pollen in the breeze. Sometimes I just need an outlet for them - if only because I find them interesting, more so than believing anyone else would. Here's another random thought for you: It's Sunday afternoon, and I believe that days like this, despite being gorgeous outside, are made for naps. On that note, happy June to you!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ten Little Things That Bring Me Joy

I haven't done TLT's in a while, so for this first week of June, here they are:

1. the smell of the dryer vent from outside the house, when the dryer is running

2. late night thunderstorms

3. the perfect (and I do mean PERFECT) latte

4. sundresses

5. new books

6. BBC renditions of Jane Austen novel's

7. how Ana literally runs and jumps into my arms when she's happy to see me

8. and how she refers to the song as "You Are My Sunshine" as "the love song". As in, "Aunt Trinette, sing me the love song". Okaay!

9. my amazing Army Wife friends - they are strong, brave, supportive, courageous, have wonderful husbands who defend our freedom, and are pretty much the best moms/wives/women I know! I am so proud of you!

10. my new marshmallow frosting recipe - I want to put it on everything. What I really want for my birthday is a butane torch so I can toast the frosting peaks into beautifully carmelized little swirls

Bonus - 11. New Jack Johnson music. Heck, Jack Johnson. Period.

The Sounds of Silence

Sometimes I don't blog because I literally have nothing to say. I enjoy the silence. Sometimes you can't shut me up.

I've been going through a transitional time lately. In so, so many ways. In my living arrangements, my job, what I eat, who I believe I am, who I believe God is, my age, romantically, emotionally, spiritually. Wow, you name it - it's been shaken up for me this year. And that's a really good, exciting thing.

I don't dislike change. I know that through it we grow - we are pruned, and fed new things, and grow and blossom, and are cut back again. I like growing. I adore flowers, and gardens and planting things, and Bachmans or the garden section at Lowes. So maybe it's only natural that I embrace change.

When I'm going through it, it's rarely easy though. They're called growing pains for a reason. But the fruit, ah the fruit.
Anyways, all this to say, that I haven't had a lot to say lately, because in all actuality, I've had too much to say. Too much to put into words, to try and filter, to organize and communicate. So sometimes I just say nothing at all. I like being quiet - it's so unlike me.

In other news, yesterday I went to Anthro, with a wonderful friend. She'd never been there before, so I had the privilege of doing some Anthro deflowering. She spoils me too, showing her appreciation for my friendship and hand-me-downs much too generously. I don't deserve it.

While she was there, she bought these - Keels Simple Diary's. Their covers are fruity and bright but their pages are filled with whimsical and random multiple choice questions that get to the heart of what kind of your day you're having, at any given time. They're charming and provide seemingly thoughtless journaling that, for someone like me, would just open the door down many a bunny trail.

She bought two, one for herself, and one for her sister, and they plan to trade them eventually, to see what each other is thinking, going through, living like. I adore that idea. If I ever date someone again, I want to do this. I want to see someone through the eyes of their day-to-day existence, not the fancy Saturday night impressions. I'm hopeful - both that someday there sill be someone out there to date me, and that he'll not look at the journal and think I'm some kind of fruit loop. It could be fun. It could happen.

Till then, like I said, I'm enjoying the silence. I've got my music turned way up loud and am singing along to some Under The Covers, sweet music of my memories, by my second favorite girl-band musician of the 80's (Belinda Carlisle being the first). I'm painting this week (hopefully) and the creative juices are flooooowing. It doesn't mean I'll have much to say, but maybe sometimes a picture can paint a thousand words.