Thursday, September 29, 2011

Do You Have A Costume?

This past Sunday I was at the mall; anyone that knows me knows that malls are not my favorite thing. They tend to be noisy, crowded, and in general overwhelming. There are two places that I do like, and that make the mall experience a bit more enjoyable for me,
1. Pretzel Time pretzels, 2. Anthropologie. Both are a treat for me, especially Anthropologie.

As I buzzed into one store and out of another I noticed a display that they had on the upper section. The textures and colors intrigued me so I went to have a closer look. The Massachusetts College Of Art & Design currently has a display at the Burlington Mall, that I think you'll agree is pretty impressive. Students took everyday common materials, and created a piece of wearable art.  Wow, what a talented group of young adults. Here are some of the pieces that stood out to me. I can even see them as a Halloween costume, can't you? Do you have your costume yet? If not I'd suggest grabbing a fist-full of straws and getting busy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Do You Have A Yellow Jacket?

A few weeks ago when hurricane Irene swept through the East Coast, we had several tree limbs come down; one of them bringing a big yellow jacket nest. A little voice inside of me told me not to touch it, but because I am very curious and love to examine things I decided to poke it with a stick. BAD decision. The nest was active, very active, and before I knew it I was being attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets. Did you know that their stings are particularly painful because they don't just sting; they bite and sting, and sting, and sting, until there's no more stingin' to be done. They got me six times. Ouch! 

Apparently in the fall is when their nests have grown to their largest size. If a colony is disturbed, they can become very aggressive and sting....Yup, I found that out the hard way.

Fast forward to this weekend.....
I love to take walks and ride my cruiser around town. A few weeks ago I passed by a house and saw that they had a pretty big nest attached to the side of their house. Although it was really pretty, It blended in with the house color. I wanted to leave a note, but didn't have a pen. 

This weekend I rode by the house again and saw that the nest was still there, and had tripled in size. Luckily this time the owners were home. Fortunately they did know that they had a thousand plus unwanted guests, but were not sure how to address the issue. I don't have to get stung again to know that it hurts, therefore I did not offer up my yellow jacket extermination services; what I did say is that I'd research some techniques and write about here it is, if you have nests:

1. Locate them during the day. You may want to cover yourself with thick clothing so that they can't sting you.

2. Treat them at night because they are all in the nest, and because they don't see very well during the night your chances of being stung are reduced. If at all possible wait till a cold night because they have trouble flying in temperatures below 50 degrees.

3. Treat the nest with dust insecticide like Sevin or Dursban, but usually an aerosol will do as long as the poison reaches the nest.

4. Check the following day to see if they are dead, if not repeat the treatment.

The good news is if you find a nest in the late summer / early fall, you can typically leave it alone because the coming cold will take care of it.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Are You Spinning?

Did you ever have a day that your head was spinning from the moment you woke up? Yesterday was that kind of day for me. It started early morning and didn't end until late in the evening. I knew it was going to be that kind of day, I knew that I was going to run out of time, but despite knowing I overbooked myself. Anyone that knows me knows that this is a small flaw of mine. :-) I can't resist, I want to do it all. Most days I accomplish everything on my list, some days I fail miserably.

I can't say that yesterday was an epic fail because I actually did accomplish  everything that I set out to do, but it wasn't exactly the best day because my head was spinning, and I ran out of time to write a well thought out post. Maybe that's ok though, maybe some days what we really need is a little spinning.....just as long as it's the right kind of spinning.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Band Lured Me In

September- Ahhh September, a month that most households get back into some form of normalcy. Schools are back in session, sports are being played and people are settling into their routines. Although summer is not officially over yet, the air lately has been chillier than I remember it being this time of year. I'm not quite ready for a sweater or warm snugly blanket, but I do enjoy the outdoor events that this season brings. 

This Saturday after my little lovely played soccer we decided to grab a bite to eat. Since we were in Salem, MA we settled on a local sandwich shop. When we got out of the car we couldn't help but hear a Mariachi band. Mariachi music originated in the state of Jalisco, in Mexico. Musicians play many different instruments from brass, wind, percussion, guitars, GuitarrĂ³n, and on some occasions  a flute, French horn, accordion, and organ are used. It's a very distinct sound so when I heard it I had to make a stop.

Apparently during the period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States,  people recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture. Hispanic Heritage Week was approved by President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile, and Belize all celebrate the anniversary of their independence during the month of September.

Salem has a large Hispanic community, so Saturday they were celebrating with traditional music, food, and activities. It was a really great afternoon learning about the different cultures. I was glad that we decided to make this stop. Since we had no idea that this event was taking place we ate our traditional American BLT sandwiches, but didn't leave until we tasted some traditional Spanish rice. 
Vivir las tradiciones Espanolas! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Purpose-full Life

It's that time of year again, no not time to clean out my closet and refresh with a fall wardrobe, the time of year that I start to think about purpose. My "purpose". 
My family and friends seem to know that its coming even before I do. A lot of people self reflect sometime around January 1st (well, maybe the 2nd or 3rd depending on how their New Years celebration was) but not me, I'm a forward thinking, a grab the bull by the horns type of gal so I start this journey well before the New Year. There's something about the season change, summer to fall, that automatically makes me reflect on my purpose in life. I ask the same questions every year:
What am I doing? 
Am I doing what I should be doing? 
Is what I'm doing purpose-full?
It's so annoying!!!! 
Last week I read a blog post written by Emilie of Puttylike ( The post title caught my eye "Can't Settle on a Niche for your Business? Not a Problem." Well that's interesting because that's exactly my problem I can't settle on one thing. What's holding me back? It's not that I'm good at everything that I do,  it's just that I like to do many things.  

Emilie suggests that instead of pushing everyone to choose a niche, we should empower people to create the sorts of businesses that work with their personality. Interesting! , so I made a list of some of my personality traits.
I'm usually outgoing, but I can be an introvert as well
I can be devoted yet sometimes, uncommitted 
Sometimes I'm enthusiastic, and other times indifferent
Some days self directed, others directed by externals
I am confident, yet sometimes self doubting 
This left me wondering if I needed medication.
I tested Emilie's expertise and sent her an email asking for help. I let her know who I was, what I am doing, have done, strengths, weaknesses, all my interests, and pretty much anything else I could fit in. She mentioned in her post that she likes a challenge, well here one was a big one.
Later that day I got Emilie's response I was anxious to open her email to see what she came up with. Did she nail it?....and oddly enough, she did. What she gave me was the common theme to all of my rants; and that overarching theme was "design". 
She was right, I am happiest when I am creating, when I'm being inspired by design, or inspiring someone with my creations; and although there are many more layers to who I am this is a key component that must be present in my everyday existence. 

How about you? Are you living a purpose- full life? Do you know what your common theme is? Perhaps you should ask Emilie, she may understand you better than you understand yourself.
Remember: It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not that does.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Curbside = Mine

A few months ago I saw this....shall I say diamond in the rough on the side of the road. I almost passed it by, but its curved back beckoned me. Accelerating on the gas I made a quick flip around the block. Every time a make a road flip my heart starts to beat fast.
What if someone else sees it and picks it up?
What if the owner saw how excited I was and comes outside to take it back?
What if unbeknownst to me there is a parade and the chair is there for a spectator and not for me?

So I rushed back and there it was. Waiting! I quickly picked it up and tossed it into my trunk.

This past weekend  I decided to tackle this project. Underneath the gorgeous wood was one small problem; layers of white paint. The problem is that the white seeped into every crevice making it impossible to get it all off. I had to get creative and take out my oil paints. I smudged some brown into the wood and viola' it hid most of the white. With a couple of coats of stain, and a few more of gloss I was pleased with the end result.

The seat was upholstered in a floral pattern. Not exactly what I had in mind. Since I am somewhat impatient, I wanted this project to be done so I had no time to shop for fabric. I  remembered that I had a couple old coffee burlap bags in the garage. I thought that the burlap would be a nice contrast to the dark stain. When  I turned them inside out the print was so appropriate for my Portuguese household. SOLD! Minutes later I cut the bag in half, and stapled it to the seat.

Now the chair is in my kitchen. I'm inspired to find a few more chairs on my stops. Wouldn't a grouping of different designs and shapes look beautiful around a table? Oh yeah! I'm on the hunt, so watch what you put curbside, because it might find its way into my trunk.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What A Cheese Ball

Last weekend during hurricane Irene I stopped by my dad’s for lunch. I know what you’re thinking; don’t normal people stay at home during a hurricane? The answer to that is yes, but for my family high winds and torrential downpours are a mere obstacle.

At lunch we somehow started talking about bread. Our guests from Brazil immediately suggested that we make some traditional Brazilian cheese ball bread, a staple in most of their family meals. It sounded like it was going to take hours to make, but it only took about an hour and a half, after all where did we have to go on a blustery day?

The recipe made about 52 balls and we ate them all. They were delicious.

I bet they would be yummy with the beautiful figs that are out this time of year.

Here's the how to:
1. In a saucepan bring to a boil the below ingredients:
1 Cup of oil
1 Cup of milk
1 Cup of water

2. Place  4 cups of Yoki In a separate bowl

3. When the oil milk and water have come to a boil place that  mixture into the bowl that has the 4 cups of Yoki

4.  Let the everything slightly cool and add 7 eggs

5. Add 6 oz. of Parmesan cheese 

6. Fold all the ingredients into each other

7. Make the mixture into balls (about 56  2" balls) put some oil on your hands so that it is easier to shape the balls

8. Bake the balls for at 350 for apx. 1/2 hour or when balls are golden brown 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chill Out Irene & Sit On A Hammock

Last week as the East Coast prepared for the arrival of hurricane Irene I found myself taking down lawn furniture, umbrellas, and my beloved hammock. I’ve enjoyed many summer days and evenings on my hammock; endless hours staring at the blue sky, cuddling with my little lovely, enjoying a book, and swinging peacefully back and forth. Taking down the hammock in preparation for the forecasted hurricane is like taking away a little piece of my heaven so instead if disassembling it I simply dragged it into my garage.

Courtesy of The Big Hammock

As I did I was reminded about The Big Hammock, an art project in Boston by Hansy Better. The concept that Hansey had was to design, and build a huge hammock and install it on the Greenway in Boston. She called this project The Big Hammock.

Situating a hammock within a public park is intended to create a new way to interact with and admire the urban and historical setting, complimenting the Greenway as space of public leisure. The hammock was on a self supporting steel frame and was 8’ x 38’ and hung 36” from the ground. Isn’t that so cool!

Courtesy of The Big Hammock
I’m happy that my hammock isn’t the size of The Big Hammock, and is much easier to drag into my garage than the The Big Hammock, that way if Irene really picks up speed I can simply open my garage and enjoy a little piece of heaven.

I think Irene needs to chill out and sit on The Big Hammock for a while, I’m sure she’d find it most relaxing.

Click here for a video of The Big Hammock