Fire-side perfection!

A perfectly cozy fire! I think I'll nestle in for an afternoon on the sofa!

Now that winter is over, I finally found the perfect fireside set. I have looked high and low. The pottery barn models look too fabricated…too fresh, the big box home improvement store models-way too cheap looking…the antique store sets- too brassy, too shiny….too formal. All winter poor C has had to stoke the fire with a stick. And sometimes I got confused and used the wrong end of the stick so when he would go to stoke the fire, he’d end up with a soot covered hand..explicitive..explicitive.

WOW! Don't you love the round accent on the top?

But yesterday, thanks to my new found hobby of thrifting, I found the PERFECT tool set. Not too “new”, not too “brassy”, not too “cheap” looking. The lines are soft and comfortable with an interesting circular top. I’m not sure I have ever seen a set that has this look. Most have a sharp pointy top. Love.Love.Love. (Cost-$5…love that too)

And it’s a cool, rainy day. Perfect for a fire and a test run of the new-old tools!

PS- Our mantle is a pine mantel from a 1700’s South Carolina farm-house. The paint is original and the distressing is real! I love its chunky lines and stately presence. And the bricks are hand-formed, probably from the 1800s. They came from a building that was torn down in our downtown area.

You know how the saying goes, one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure!

My Selfish Self

By: Linda Yuki Nakanishi

 Sometimes I catch myself being completely self-centered. Sometimes And when I catch myself in this mode….I am incredibly humbled by just how human I am….and horrified at how easily I can slip into this mode.  

On Friday, I had big plans to scoot out of the office a bit early, begin work on my weekend home projects and clean the house so I could enjoy a day on the lake with C and the pups on Saturday. Not to mention…it was 80 degrees outside.

But on Thursday at 4pm….I was given a new project….my company needed me to orchestrate a Red Cross fund for the Japan disaster and develop a communications plan for our 30 offices. All to be completed in 24 hours.

Long story short…I had my end of the project completed around 3:00 on Friday….but I had to wait on others to launch. I was tired. I was annoyed. My brain had reached its limit for the week. Thank goodness I was the only person left in office so no one could witness my selfishness. It wasn’t until I began driving home after 5pm that I began to think about what had shaken out.  

I started to think about the people in Japan. The lives lost. Complete towns obliterated. People trapped for days. People searching for their missing loved ones. Individuals who fear going outside because of radiation. No gas. intermittent electricity. Contaminated food sources.

How could I be so selfish?

Here is a blog that showcases some artwork to benefit Japan:

To purchase a print of the image above:

Spring Has Sprung

Time to come out of hibernation. The birds are chirping a little more brightly and yellow bells are announcing Spring is here! So happy to see fresh asparagus, strawberries and sugar snap peas lining the shelves in the produce section.

In honor of Spring I made a yummy, low fat, good for you appetizer for our supper club cook out. I made it up this afternoon in three shakes of a jiffy!

AG’s Happy Spring Dip
8 oz plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 pack of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
Mix together…and presto a delish dip for all of the fresh Spring veggies.


Color Me Happy!

On a cold sunday morning about a month ago, I came across a large, 42 x 42, ottoman on Craig’s list…And so the adventure began. Though I had been looking for a large upholstered ottoman for sever al weeks, none, that I found, had the look I wanted within the budget required. At last, something I could work with.

C. wanted to have nothing to do with this little adventure. Afterall, the ottoman was 20 miles away and he was off to play golf. So, I called on T., who is always ready for an adventure. We loaded up and headed out with the GPS leading the way. We arrived at an apartment complex…a not so nice apartment complex….

So far my interactions with the seller had been all texts. The ottoman was a zebra print so in my mind it surely belonged to a girl. Imagine my surprise to find it belonged to a big, burly man with lots of piercings…everywhere…all over his face. Yikes. Really I just wanted to get the heck out of dodge. The ottoman was broken, falling down, and the guy scared me. I figured it was worth $40 to get it and go. Even if it went on the trash pile the next day. We weren’t in the best area of town.

What an idiot I am. That ottoman could have had fleas or worse, bed bugs. Luckily it didn’t. I called the upholstery guy, who is my new best friend, to come get it ASAP. I wanted it OUT of the house. YUCK.

First thing Monday morning, I called Joey, the upholstery dude (who has transformed my house) and requested that he come right away. I mean if it had bed bugs…it needed to get out of my new house.  Joey quickly told me with a little work, the ottoman could be salvaged. Now the pressure to find the perfect  fabri with just the right pop of color.

I found this fantastic Ikat in the remanent section of the fabric store…$6. I had the chocolate-brown piping fabric from another project and the linen on the sides was given to me by my MIL (leftovers from her living room sofa).

$40 ottoman
$6 fabric
$40 ottoman rebuild
$150 upholstery

TOTAL- $236  

I’m in love! We had friends over for dinner last night and it was so fun to lounge and talk around the ottoman. The perfect pop of color for our cozy family room. And when I am tired of it…I can easily change it – Guilt free!

everything old can be new again!

I have always been a bit obsessed with things that are old, things that have served another purpose…things that have a story to tell. And I am a firm believer that everything in my home should be beautiful and should reflect our lifestyle. If I don’t love it and it doesn’t work for us…it’s outta here! If you have journeyed through our home renovation, you know what I mean…from rusted bird-cage lighting in the kitchen to an 1800’s pine mantel in my living room, I love old things.

It seems like a natural progression to move from the antique stores to Goodwill. Yep. That’s right. Goodwill. There I said it. I have become a Goodwill shopper (Inspired by my historical preservationist friend RCR!). I’d like to say that this new hobby came out of necessity. But it didn’t. It’s more about the quest, the history, the thrill of the hunt! I could go to pottery barn to buy a lamp (and I have and probably will again), but how fun to find a lamp or a painting or other accessory at Goodwill. There’s a story for sure!

Yesterday, I didn’t set out to find these amazing  pottery bowls, because Lord knows…I don’t need another bowl (I probably have a hundred!) But I just couldn’t resist. They look so fab with my Vietri brown and black pottery. AND they were perfect for the Gumbo I served for last night’s cold rainy get together with friends.

So here they are!   I purchased all four for $6.50. They are handmade and include the potter’s stamp. I’ll have to ask my friend E.F.  if they are “fine” pottery! Why in the world would someone part with these?

Regardless, their loss is certainly my gain. These little darlings are fabulous. Won’t you join me for a bowl of soup?

And if you think I was clever enough to dream up shopping at Goodwill and Craig’s list for home decor…I am flattered but you are mistaken. I have become a blog junkie for several design inspiring blogs including Apartment Therapy and Mr. Goodwill Hunting

The Key West of My Imagination…

Key West….a place I have dreamed about visiting. In my mind, Key West was a glamorous yet shabby chic tropical spot where beautiful people sipped rum runners and belinis. The women who came from my imaginative  Key West wore Lilly and Jack Rodgers…and maybe some fab gold hoops and a series of delicate bangles. Lots of pink. Lots of green. The men wore khaki shorts, freshly ironed fishing shirts and maybe a pastel polo with a fun belt and deck shoes. Maybe a visor.  My Key West was almost like a country club located on the water.  The streets were lined with chic little boutiques and art galleries. The precious cottages on the side streets were all updated and had tropical gardens.

Funny thing is…my little imagination was not exactly reality. Here’s the real Key West:

I croppped out this woman...she looks like many I saw. Someone please let America know that unless you look like Daisy should not wear jean shorts. This goes for men as well!


It is so funny how our imagination can conjure up ideas that are grounded in fantasy. I have no reason why in the world I had painted such a glam place in my mind. Key West is a place were the average joe american unloads off of a cruise ship to buy a t-shirt from Hog’s Breath, Margaritaville or Sloppy Joes. It’s nothing more than a glorified Myrtle Beach with a sense of history.  

 I can say I have cruised down A1A in a convertable….and I can check Key West off of the bucket list. Nice to meet you Key West…but next time I’ll just go to Wal-Mart on a Saturday in small town America!  I think C. really had a great time. Perhaps Key West is a man’s kind of spot. Maybe next time he can go with the boys and do some fishing!

PS- If you are reading this thinking that I am a snob…well yes…your intuition is correct. I admit it. I am.

Here are a few other photos from our trip…the weather was amazing and we did enjoy renting bikes and cruising around the city.

I knew there would be many interesting artist...but I am not sure that this is what I expected.on the flip side...there weren't nearly as many chickens as I thought there would be. Guess all the cars and buses control the poultry populationI totally thought it would be one massive tropical garden...but this was really the only hibiscus I saw. Not a cloud in the sky.