A Beach Inspired Haven

I’ve had a fixation with beach-themed bathrooms for over a decade now, and love using shells and beach-themed décor as fun accents to remind me of the ocean and the beach. When I moved to a new residence this past January, I decided to really have fun with the beach theme, and I took it to the extreme.

One of the features I have displayed in my bathroom is a collection of clear containers which hold sand and shells from different beaches I have visited.  Included in this collection are sand and shell samples from Hawaii, Costa Rica, Bali, Thailand and the Maldives.  Whenever I look at my collection, I am transported back to those magical destinations which captured my heart and spirit.

Whenever I feel like escaping to an island getaway, but I am stuck in Los Angeles, I’ll take a bubble bath while surrounded by my sand and shell collection, lit candles, and starfish lights.  It’s a wonderful way for me to recharge and to surround myself with reminders of my favorite terrain.  I also love the fact that I finally have a full bathtub in my bathroom after 20 years of having shower stalls.  Whenever my schedule allows, I try to take a relaxing bath, which beats taking a quick shower any day.

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Moving Sucks

Last Christmas was rough to say the least, mainly because I had received a 60-day notice on December 14th that we had to move from the residence I had been at for over five years. The owner was selling the townhouse, and that was that. Since I never sit around and let fate take over, I found a new residence within 6 days, and we began packing right after Christmas, until right before the move on January 13th.

It wasn’t easy figuring out what would stay and what would go, especially since I was losing my office space and downsizing from a master bedroom which was 2-1/2 times the size of the master bedroom in the new place. We had to sign up with a different water and power company, as well as a different cable service, despite the fact that we were moving two miles down the road within the same city and zip code.

It took us two weeks to settle into the new residence. The new place is beautiful, but the layout is completely different, and the neighborhood is also quite different. The move forced me to break out of every daily pattern I had become accustomed to over the years, from where I received my mail, to the orientation of the dining room table in the room, etc. Even the spot where the toilet paper holder is in my bathroom is different from the place I had left.

When I leave the house, I have to navigate different streets, and because we are in the middle of the city, I feel like I am in a concrete jungle, with traffic everywhere I go. It takes an extra five to ten minutes to get to the street where I used to begin my trek to the gym or to the nearest freeway, and it’s testing my patience.

Another thing I just cannot get used to is the NOISE. We live near a preschool, and the sounds of children squealing during the day are like nails on chalkboard for me. Added to that are the sirens from the fire engines which depart the fire station down the street, trains which travel on the nearby train tracks, and the occasional aircraft departing from the nearby airport, and my nerves are in a state of constant unrest. It’s a startling change from the quiet foothills which we were once a part of.

Moving in general is so disruptive, as well as unbelievably expensive! It will take months before I am set straight again financially. And now we pay significantly more rent on a smaller place, thanks to the inflated rents which now exist. We got reamed as a result of the move.

It’s been almost a month since we moved, and the new residence still feels foreign to me, like I am staying at someone else’s home. It’s a beautiful space, but I have yet to get to a point where I truly own the space, feel like it is part of me. I hope it happens soon!

Another Annual Orphan Thanksgiving

This year I am upholding my own Thanksgiving tradition with what I refer to as Orphan Thanksgiving. It is a cozy and enjoyable event for the people who share in this wonderful celebration. I invite friends who don’t have a place to go for the holiday, usually because their relatives live far away.

Though there is a considerable amount of food prep involved, I get a kick out of making each dish and roasting and carving the turkey. You might think that this desire to cook huge holiday meals and have people over is something that was handed down to me from my mother, but my mom never entertained guests in our home, and she never considered herself a cook. My mother’s idea of cooking was to heat up Stouffer’s entrees or throw a piece of meat on the broiler, and when the holidays arrived, she made restaurant reservations instead of spending time in the kitchen. Somehow I had a natural affinity for cooking and baking, and I also quickly discovered how much I enjoyed hosting events. I am certain that my desire to host parties evolved from my tendency to nurture others.

Thanksgiving-Dinner-New-York-CityWhat’s on the table this year? Turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole (a HUGE hit), mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole. I’m letting my guests bring dessert to ease the cooking and baking load, since I make these feasts by myself. Since I fully believe in enjoying “normal” foods during the holidays, provided they are enjoyed in moderation, I have no problem featuring a few “forbidden” foods on the holiday table.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The Days Of Trick Or Treating Are Over

42308248 – children in fancy costume dress going trick or treating

Halloween was always my favorite holiday, because I could dress up as anything I wanted to be. It was always such a blast to think of what I wanted to be for Halloween, and my mother always obliged, albeit begrudgingly at times when she wasn’t thrilled with my choice or had to put together a costume for me. That being said, there were only two years in which she took on the task of putting a costume together for me: in fifth grade, when I went as Cleopatra, and once in seventh grade when I went as Princess Leia.

Year after year, I used the same hard plastic trick or treat pumpkin which my mother bought me when I was five years old, and I always managed to get that Jack O’ Lantern filled to the brim with candy when I went trick or treating. Back then, parents were concerned about apples containing razorblades, so I was instructed to never accept apples, but I could accept all the candy I wanted, as long as the wrappers were intact. I had my favorites, like Snickers Minis and Dubble Bubble Gum, but I was such a polite kid that I was happy to get any candy when I approached front doors and made that request:

“Trick or Treat!”

The Halloween I celebrated in sixth grade was characterized by trick or treating with several friends in Bel Air, an upscale community in Los Angeles. When we knocked on the doors of the beautiful homes there, we didn’t get Dum Dums or candy corn. Instead, we received things like full sized Hershey bars and little boxes of Godiva chocolates. One house we went to handed out $5 bills, which was a sizeable amount to a ten-year old in 1976!

Things have changed dramatically over the years, with parents opting to take their children to the mall or to scheduled events in lieu of knocking on doors at dusk. I completely understand why, since the hazards of walking around after dark and accepting candy from strangers can be just like playing Russian roulette. In the eleven years that I have lived in the same community, I have only had four groups of children trick or treating. It’s a dying trend.

My Reading Nook

Despite the fact that my large sectional leather sofa has an incredibly comfortable chaise portion, I have coveted a plush, comfortable, stand-alone chaise lounge for many years. When I initially thought of getting one, my now ex-boyfriend nixed the idea, telling me that it would clutter up the living room, so I abandoned the idea.

Then at the end of last year, I decided to get rid of an old futon sleeper sofa which was in the seating area of my bedroom (I have a large bedroom). The futon mattress would constantly slip down on the frame, and since the futon served as the “doghouse” for my guy or me during arguments, there was so much bad energy associated with the piece of furniture that I sold it.

After the futon was sold, I decided to repurpose the seating area in my bedroom to accommodate a desk and bookcase, and also decided that a chaise lounge would be a terrific seating option for the area as well. I wanted something convertible, something which could flatten out and serve as a bed, so I chose a very modern design.

I lived with this piece of furniture for close to four months, and determined during that span of time that this chaise was quite possibly the most uncomfortable lounge chair I had ever encountered. And forget about sleeping on it. One night when I was having coughing fits, I decided to try out the chaise as a bed. The following morning, I awoke with the most horrific full back spasm! After that horrible night, I confined my use of the chaise to afternoon reading sessions, but even with the back propped up on the chaise, it still wasn’t very comfortable, so I returned it.

In its place, I purchased this chaise lounge:

Though this chaise cannot be converted into a bed like the previous chaise, it is incredibly comfortable, wonderful for afternoon reading, and fits in well with the surrounding furnishings.

My new chaise is plush, and the curvature accommodates the body’s natural lines beautifully. After accessorizing the nook with a dimmable reading lamp, I created a very cozy escape which is great for reading, relaxing, and napping.