Please accept my sincere apologies for not posting a new blog this week. I just lost my mother to COVID and lost my father in early January. It has been an extraordinary time for my family, and the kind words and condolences from so many have enabled me to get through it. Thank you for your patience.
“You are so much more than what you’re going through.”
The unknown is what it is. We live with it, we acknowledge it, and we adjust to the best of our ability. But in no way does that mean we have to accept it as being the standard bearer for our lives, health and wellness. I have spoken to countless Boomers and we all agree, we will not let it define us, we will not let our spirit be defeated, and we all want some change from the routine.
Having been in the design business for years, I thought long and hard about this last comment, and here is what I came up with. We live our life in our homes like never before. We nestle in place and watch more TV, we Zoom at our computers with family and friends, we cook more than ever, and we enjoy taking on new projects to improve our outlook. So why not create your new style, by creating a new sanctuary in which you live, simply by adding tranquil touches that bring balance and bliss, without spending a fortune on the redo.
“Build your paradise. Surround yourself with the things that make you happy and discard the things you don’t. the world moves in cycles, building and breaking down, rising and falling giving and taking. There’s good to be found in each. Remember that you mold your reality, and you will spend more time rising than falling.”
From sumptuous layers to tranquil touches to the unique—these are my favorite ways to invite serenity into my space while I’m enduring the lingering effects of this pandemic.
COZY UP. Layers of pillows and throws, especially during these winter months are a welcome treat. Even here in southern California the nights can be cool and downright chilly. My BoomerGuy and I pull out a throw while we watch our favorite programs on TV. And being the designer that I am, I will opt for seasonal pillows to help add color and a vibrant twist on your sofa or chairs.
REFRESH YOUR RETREAT. With dreamy new bedding. If you want to go bold there are many choices. I prefer what we call “transitional,” a soft color palette in my bedroom to calm my mind and body for the upcoming night of sleep.
CLEAN THE CLUTTER. With space saving solutions or donate or toss. Yes, it means getting off the couch and doing something productive. There is a place for everything, and everything has a place. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel with a little more elbow room, and your eye can be drawn to single pieces of art and sculpture rather than it being diluted by the hodgepodge. Love that word! Oh, and it makes dusting a whole lot easier. Ha.
SPACE HEATING. During these cool and cold winter months, try using a space heater rather than flipping on the main furnace. You can find stylish and efficient space and room heating devices at www.costco.com, www.homedepot.com, www.target.com and www.lowes.com. Make sure they electric so you’re not burning propane or some other flammable fuel that gives off toxic residue inside your dwelling. Notice, I did not send you to an expensive fireplace or patio store—you can find a perfect assortment of such devices without spending a fortune. The good news, they do not chew up a bunch of electricity. I use them in the kitchen, family room and my office to set that glow of warmth right where I’m sitting. When I leave, I hit the off switch.
BE BOLD. How to add a ‘pop’ of color with pillows, throws, accessories and/or artwork. That’s a lot less expensive than painting the whole room. Make a statement with whatever colors you adore. My palette changes over the seasons. One of my favorites is teal. Place a touch of that color throughout each room, whatever color that might be, and it will pull your rooms and home together.
MOOD LIGHTING. Last night my BoomerGuy turned off all the lamps and lights and ate dinner by candlelight. Of course it was romantic, but it also gave us a sense of warmth and calm from our otherwise hectic day. When you do require lighting, look for lower wattage bulbs that cast a warmer glow, or use dimmers to regulate the amount of light you desire and reduce the glare. Another fabulous way to bring mood lighting into play is to purchase a set of small string lights that operate on a battery with timer, and slip them inside one your favorite vases that is translucent, so the vase comes alive from the light within. And lastly, select a painting or sculpture and highlight it with art-lighting, helping to create a serene calm.
A NEW BOOK. Or perhaps one you read years ago and it’s just sitting there waiting to be reopened. In any case, there is nothing better than checking out from the daily grind and losing yourself in a good novel or non-fiction piece. It might be a good way to drift off and take one of those badly needed naps that we all enjoy. Personally, I enjoy a hard or paperback copy, and preferably not one from the library that has been handled a thousand times, while many of my friends choose the Kindle E-reader subscription through www.amazon.com. Books are wonderful for decorating tables and shelves. Don’t forget www.barnesandnoble.com, I like their close-out section with great authors, prices and whose copyrights are only one or two years old.
AN INVIGORATING RECIPE. The world is full of culinary ideas and accessible in many books and over the internet. You can elect to go as elegant or as simple as you desire, but for goodness sake try something new. Fill your sanctuary with the sweet and bold scents brought forth from your kitchen. It not only spurs you to seek out an unusual item at the grocery, but it stimulates your creative side to follow a recipe that here-to-fore was unfamiliar. Case in point: I am experimenting with a contemporary mac and cheese dish that requires ‘annatto.’ What did you say? I had no idea such a thing existed until my favorite grocer pointed me in the direction of Chilean spices. Now it’s on to using my first taste of annatto. It’s not really on our diet, but everyone needs a little comfort food now and then. And please set a beautiful table for yourself.
THE PROJECT. No sanctuary thinking is complete without the proverbial project, especially on those days when the weather is inclement. A good stay inside project will give you so much satisfaction while doing it, and even more satisfaction after it’s completed. You can revel in your accomplishment and get kudo’s from family and friends when you send off the pics.
WINTER MUSIC. Yes, indeed Virginia, there is such a thing, and even by well-known artists that we as Boomers have grown to love, from Gordon Lightfoot in 1967 to Sarah McLachlan in 2002. Did you know there are songs entitled “Winter’s Night.” This music is readily available on your iPhone so you don’t need to go purchase anything, you just need to turn up the volume and enjoy as background music.
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”
So, that’s it. Well not really. My blogs don’t give you the, all to end all, but merely a sampling of those ideas that I feel are worthwhile and tangible…meaning you can do them without spending a fortune and they’re easy to accomplish. We might not be spending a great deal of money on gas and eating out these days, but for many of us we’re on fixed budgets that require sensibility on what we spend. Whether I have been on a small or large budget, I have always valued the greatest bang for the buck. In fact, most designers like wholesale—who doesn’t? Better to be thrifty rather than cavalier.
One other tip. In order to enjoy your sanctuary even more, when you do go out for whatever purpose, be sure to wear disposable gloves. It’s one thing to mask up, social distance and wash your hands, it’s another to make sure your gloves touch the door handles, the grocery carts, the elevator buttons, the escalator runners, the keypad at checkout, the nozzle at the gas pump, et al, rather than your bare hands. I stock up wherever I can find them, at Costco, the hardware store, Harbor Freight in southern California—they’re not easy to find. I put them before leaving my car and I take them off at the exit of my destination. It gives me peace of mind when I do return to my sanctuary.
Don’t let the uncertainty of the unknown stop you from enjoying who you are and all that which surrounds you on a daily basis. Here is our winter in SoCal. Yes we got snow for one day. So beautiful, peaceful and serene. Enjoy winter all you Boomers, time and life are short.