Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Interior Design Trends 2016

The New Year brings the perfect opportunity to start out with a fresh interior update. With the right accessories, nearly any currently owned furnishing can be reworked, giving it a new look. This of course can save a lot of money. After the festivities of the Holidays, who would not want that? Below are the hot, up and coming looks.

When I first learned of this year's interior design trends, all I could think of was “yes!” The coming year’s interior design trends focus on creating a soothing and ultra relaxing home. Less is definitely more in 2016. The implementation of natural elements with clean lines create balance. Muted colors and a touch of ethnicity prevent a sterile environment and add a welcoming atmosphere. What is great about these trends is that there is still room to change the look of a room without spending a lot of money. All it takes is a little creativity.

Natural elements are big this year and there is something for every budget. Showy floral arrangements give way to simple statements. Think of a handful of sticks in a simple glass vase. Rock gardens, wood bowls and sand all play key parts in bringing nature inside. A twig lampshade or oversize rattan basket to hold items are also ways to bring the beauty of nature inside. If a remodel is on the schedule, satin or matte finishes on counter tops are replacing high gloss granite. Counter edges are rough to expose the natural beauty but with just enough sanding to prevent clothing from snagging. Flooring is more durable and easier to maintain in satin finishes instead of high gloss.

Another way to bring nature inside is through the use of indoor gardens. Live plants not only clean the air inside the home by making oxygen, but the appearance of live plants adds a touch of serenity to the environment. If an entire garden is not possible, try grouping several pots together to create the illusion of a garden. The key to doing this is to make a statement with the use of live plants but still have an element of space. There are a lot of low maintenance plants to choose from to keep from becoming overburdened.

Combining function with beauty is another trend this coming year. This not only saves space by lessening the amount of clutter, but offers more bang for the buck. Leather ottomans that double as storage bins are one example. Sofabed hybrids are another. In the kitchen, maximizing cupboard space by adding organizers, spice racks or a lazy Susan help to get the counter cleared off while still keeping them within reach.

Touches of ethnicity are yet another popular trend in 2016. Adding splashes of color that accompany many ethnic furnishings can bring a welcoming warmth to any room. Don’t overdo it. The key is to bring balance into the decor, not for the room to look like an open market. An ornate armoire can double as a bar. A table runner or sofa throw can add just enough color to add an inviting mood. If using decorative pillows, mix solid with ethnic prints in complimentary colors to keep the theme cohesive.

The coming year brings a calming change to the home and with it comes a change in the color palate. Colors are muted and soothing. The vibrant tones of last year give way to colors that are serene and relaxing. Any preferred color is acceptable as long as it is muted. Slate blue, plums, sage, softer teals, warm honey and earthy rusts are all part of creating a relaxing home. If only one interior update is possible, toning down the color would be it.

In keeping with the Zen like mood of interiors, less is definitely more. Clear out clutter. Free up a bit of wall space. Keep furniture lines clean and window coverings simple. The less that the eyes need to focus on, the easier it becomes to relax after a chaotic day. There is less to clean, less to break and generally less to worry about. This alone can be all that’s needed to create a comforting and less stressful home.

Which style do you prefer? I can't make up my mind. I think the beauty of this year's interior design trends is the simplicity. It really does help in creating an almost spa-like feel to a home. But I also love the idea of bringing nature inside. Regardless of your favorite look, your house is yours and making it unique to you is what makes it home. - Angelica Mordant

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Decorating With ADHD

When it comes to décorating, it can often be a challenge to find the perfect balance between homey and sterile. Many homey interiors can over time, become inundated with clutter. Shelves become more like open storage and an overload of décor ends up looking like the thrift store down the street. On the other hand, without a resident's personal touches, many homes can look like museums or office waiting rooms.

For people with ADHD, decorating can be even more of a challenge. An environment with too much to look at can overwhelm the senses, making it difficult for that person to focus. Too sterile of a décor can prolong the ability to feel comfortable. Here are some decorating tips specifically aimed to help those with ADHD.

De clutter and organize. This statement just may be the most difficult task to accomplish simply because many times there is sentiment attached to personal items. Try getting rid of items that aren't necessary. Not every nook, cranny and inch of wall space needs to be filled. This can be a process and doesn't need to be done overnight. When considering what to keep and what to get rid of, consider removing it and setting it in a closet, spare room or the garage. Try living without the item for a month or two. If you don't miss it, get rid of it. Move on to the next item until the room is free from clutter and unnecessary stimuli. 

Organize collections. Collections are a source of enjoyment, but for the person with ADHD, the accumilation of multiple items can overwhelm the senses. This in turn can cause a sense of anxiety among other symptoms. To minimize this, collections can be grouped together to create a statement or theme, rather than to spread each item all over the room. Grouping items causes the eye to stay in one area instead of traveling through other elements of the room to find the next item in the collection. Extensive collections on the other hand can be displayed in groups of 5, so long as the surrounding area is clutter free. For instance, try displaying five collectibles lined up on a book shelf. In another part of the room, display five more on a sofa table, and still another five more on a long shelf on wall. Fifteen items in one area is a lot to look at unless they're displayed in a large enough cabinet and organized so they're not crammed together. Lining up the items creates a sense of order and organization whereas displaying in a boutique style with risers and assorted angles sends the eye in multiple directions. For the person with ADHD it can be additional and unnecessary stimuli.

Monochromatic or muted colors on the walls help calm the senses. Soft sage green or slate blues are very calming colors. Neutral colors such as tans or taupes are good for background colors. Adding an accent color can add interest and individuality without adding visual chaos. Vibrant colors can add a needed pop of color but should be used very sparingly with accessories such as candles or vases. Use the same discretion when using patterns as you would with vibrant colors. Limit florals and patterns on upholstered pieces. Instead, try your favorite pattern on window valances, a folded throw, or perhaps a couple of decorative pillows.

If you happen to love ornate furniture, choose a favorite piece to make a statement. If you own a particular item that you cannot part you can decorate the room around it. Many times, a cohesive look can be obtained by adding just a few accessories. For example, books can be sparingly and attractively displayed on a large, heavy bookcase. A simple centerpiece or candle arrangement can be set on an exquisite table or buffet. The key is to not take away from the beauty of the statement piece by cluttering it with too many items. Remember less is more.

Soothing accessories can also help create a serene room. Tabletop fountains have the calming sound of running water. Candles offer warm, soothing light and live plants clean the air and bring the relaxing effects of nature inside

. Any combination of these items will make the room welcoming and comforting. For the person with ADHD, this can help keep him or her remain relaxed and focused. Soothing enviroments can also lower blood pressure, lower heart rate and induce a more relaxed state of mind.

Decorating for the person with ADHD is quite easy. By simply being aware when choosing home furnishings, your home can be a soothing retreat. A peaceful environment will not only benefit the person with ADHD, but for everyone else who shares the space. - Angelica Mordant

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Review of The Iron Lady

This is the biography of the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher. A grocer's daughter passionate about principal, standing for what's right, her struggle for respect in a man's world, her controversies, loss of power and eventual decline into dementia. Set in current time, the movie portrays an elderly Ms. Thatcher played by Meryl Streep, who suffers from dementia and who frequently talks to her dead husband. The movie takes the viewer back to Ms Thatcher as a young woman, determined to make a difference in the world, refusing to end up and old woman washing her teacup in the kitchen. The story unfolds, revealing how she came into power, and progresses through her position in office then comes full circle into current time, showing her washing her teacup in the kitchen.

While many critics are outraged at the depiction of Ms. Thatcher's decline into dementia as being disrespectful and exploitative, I wholeheartedly disagree. I found the mood of the movie, very tasteful and compassionate. Dementia is quite common among the elderly and is a most unfortunate fact. Because the director Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia!) chose to portray this fact, this movie brings to light thought provoking issues like, perhaps society should think twice before dismissing the elderly and all that they have contributed to the world. That senior citizens are not to be thrown away or disregarded, but honored for the sacrifices they've made. That regardless of their current state of mind, in no way does that indicate that great things have not been done.

Lloyd focuses on telling the story of the woman Margaret Thatcher while portraying key political events from an objective point of view. Not an easy feat. She shows that while Ms Thatcher made decisions she believed to be best for her country and people, she was still moved by human loss and suffering. Meryl Streep's high caliber performance is nothing less than amazing and her presence brings exceptional quality to an already high quality film. Regardless of what your feelings are about Margaret Thatcher, this movie is a must see.

Earth Friendly Tips on How to Keep Pets Out of Plants

To some people, nothing makes a home a home without plants. The beauty of nurturing a plant and watching it grow into lush, full foliage gives one a sense of accomplishment. For others, nothing makes a home more welcoming than pets. The companionship and physical interaction helps to soothe nerves and create a sense of well being. But what happens when you want to have plants and pets? Somehow the zen environment is exchanged for worries about chewed leaves, puppies mistakenly marking your favorite palm tree or kitty getting into a boxing match with the vine you nourished from seedling. Not to worry. With a little creativity and patience, you can enjoy your home with healthy plants and healthy pets.

  1. Hang plants when possible. Many people set pots on top of entertainment centers or tables. Unfortunately that creates the perfect climbing and jungle play area for your kitty. Not only do they love to climb, but they'll especially enjoy stalking through, swatting and rubbing against that plant. By hanging plants from the ceiling away from ledges when possible, kitty won't be as inclined to bother with it.
  2. For larger plants on the floor, try setting an empty pot on fly paper or poster board with clear packing tape (adhesive side UP). Make sure there is at least 8 inches of adhesive showing all around the pot. Your pooch or feline friend will soon learn that getting too close to the pot can get them in a sticky situation. Once they stop approaching the pot, replant your foliage and keep it on the adhesive board/fly paper until you're certain your pets won't bother it.
  3. A spray bottle with water is a great way to deter your furry friends from plants (or any other area off limits. Simply set the nozzle on the “stream” setting and spray your pet when they approach the plant. Once again, it takes a little time depending on the animal but eventually they do learn that plants are not theirs to play with.
  4. Planting among cacti can also be a great way to keep pets out of your houseplants. For floor plants, place your potted plant on a much larger draining tray at least twice as big in diameter as the base of the pot. Add decorative rock. Then place very small pots (with their own small and properly fitted draining trays) with cacti in the rock. Your larger plant can drain without drowning the cacti. Pets may come around to check out the new plant, but when they learn the cacti are not pleasant, they will avoid them.
  5. Due to a heightened sense of hearing, most dogs (and cats too for that matter) do not like the sound of pennies/pebbles in a can. Keep the can with several pennies or small rocks close by. When your pet approaches the plant shake the can loudly and firmly say “NO!” You may have to do this several times, perhaps for a week, but your pet will eventually make the connection between an unpleasant experience and the plant.
  6. For larger areas such as flowerbeds and trellises, green pet netting is an excellent way to keep pets out of garden areas. The rolled netting is barely visible and easy to install. It is available at many home improvement stores and nurseries. It can even be used to keep cats from jumping back fences and walls. Your neighbors will love you.
  7. Planting herbs with scents that dogs and cats do not like, is an excellent way to deter them. Lemongrass, peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus and mustard are some herbs that have a reputation for offending your puppy or kitty's sensitive sniffer. Simply plant them in the same pot if possible. The scent will repel your pet from the plant. Coffee grounds/beans are also said to have the same effect. If you don't want to actually grow the herbs, dabbing the pots with the essential oils is also effective. Just be sure to dab in areas where your pet can't lick (just in case). For outdoor gardens, planting peppermint among flowers can help deter pets from trampling your beautiful garden.

Keeping pets out of plants is a great way to enjoy the company of your four legged friends and still have the beauty of plants around. By learning what works best for your furry friend, you can help him understand boundaries while still providing a loving environment.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Time to Take a Cleansing Breath and Calm the F**k Down

Rather than bore you with the drama that's been happening this past week, I thought it better to focus on finding my peaceful place and how I go about doing that.

Drama it seems is everywhere and finding the calm amidst chaos can in itself be a challenge. I'm reminded of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, stranded on that tower and yet he finds that butterfly/moth thing and whispers to it. The same happens later in the movie during a battle scene. In both scenes, the moth flutters away and brings an eagle (or eagles)which in turn helps end the drama.

To me, it's the same concept. When events chaotic and it seems that it's just one problem after another, we need to stop, take a deep breath and send out to the universe our desire for serenity. But I don't think this can be done with an anxious or hurried attitude. I believe it must be done with a gentle and calm intent. Like setting a paper sailboat on a gently moving stream or softly blowing those soap bubbles on the plastic stick. If we move too quickly or with too much force the boat tips over or the bubble pops.

So how do we reach that calm? How do we lovingly send into the universe peace when kids are screaming, bills are piling up or the phone is ringing off the hook? Well first I just stop. Just plain come to a screeching halt. I turn my phone on silent, close my eyes and take a deep cleansing breath or two then remind myself that all this is only temporary. That soon enough, peace will come. I sometimes imagine myself in a cool forest and try to imagine the smell of the earth and the sound of the trees in the breeze. I try to imagine it to the very last detail. Sometimes I imagine a warm tropical paradise with turquoise water that looks shallow and the pristine sand below. Those are just my peaceful places, but you can think of anywhere you want. Once I pick a place, I allow that serenity to soak into my being so that in THAT attitude, I can focus on prioritizing the issues that need my attention and deal with them, one at a time. Things that are resolvable are resolved. Things that are being attended to but will take time to resolve are filed in the mental file cabinet "check on progress later". And things that I cannot change I try to find a way to see the good in it or ask what lesson can be learned or how can it be prevented again.

Sometimes in the evening, my mind still goes and goes and just will NOT shut off, so I find mindless things to occupy myself with. Activities like mah jong or looking at pretty images and collecting them in albums work well for me. But I stay away from anything which requires real thought or that has any negative feeling. No news, no tv dramas, no lists of what has to be done the next day and NO Facebook where I'm reading about other people's drama. In essence, I create a happy bubble if only for a short time. It's a place to recharge, regroup and remember that while things can be intense, it's only temporary and our character is being tested.

Creating a soothing environment also helps in calming the storm. Sometimes pleasant scents, fountains, candles, voiceless music such as classical or piano can help with soothing nerves. I prefer food smells. They're comforting to me. My daughter prefers floral scents. Candles are calming even if only burning on a corner table or otherwise in the background. And as far as music goes, I ALWAYS have soothing music/nature sounds playing in my home. I believe that soothing music is positive and therefore there is no room for negativity. However, when I play other types of music such as pop, rock or whatever, things do indeed become more active. Then it's only a matter of time before bickering happens, dogs begin acting up more and the noise level in our home goes up. I limit my exposure to those kinds of music to when I work out, when I'm driving alone in the car or sometimes when entertaining. I don't think there is anything wrong with upbeat music, however when things are chaotic and you're needing things to calm down, try putting on some nature sounds or soft piano music. The sound of birds, crickets or whales is sooooo soothing.

And if all the above still isn't helping you're seriously stressed and just need a giant glass of wine!

Give it a try. I'd love to hear how YOU calm down when things are crazy. I've also included some beautiful pics that calm me down....maybe they'll do the same for you....

Namaste & God Bless,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hello World....Meet Steven!

Geez where do I begin? Have you ever had someone in your life who you just seemed to “get”? Someone who for whatever reason just seems to make sense when everyone else just doesn't “get” him/her? Meet Steven. He is my 5th of five children. As of this writing, he is 16 years old. He is my last child and while all my children hold some part of me whether in looks, beliefs, mannerisms or more, Steven's obscurity and free will is so beautiful to see since it is a reflection of my own characteristics. Characteristics that go against the grain and which took me a long time to accept. To see them in my son is profound, humbling and downright scary. However at the same time, they're beautiful to see. I can only imagine how my mother felt when I was thinking the same kinds of things that Steven does and how I was trying out life like there was a “reset” button somewhere if things didn't go as planned. My poor mother!

Steven has a gypsy's soul. He likes adventure and is most definitely a risk taker. Gulp! He does not conform to the expectations of society nor is he a follower. He is not a leader either. He simply marches to the beat of his own drum. A metaphor that is most fitting for him due to the fact that his sense of rhythm is amazing. His beatbox talents are the kind that would be sure to go viral if he could get over being shy long enough to allow me to video him. He yearns for a drum set and if I had the money, would get for him in a heartbeat. I really hate to see good talent wasted and his are being wasted. I can only hope that in the near future, I can get him the drum set he wants.

Steven is too smart for his own good. He loves to learn. He enjoys useless knowledge and trivia. As a younger child he would enjoy Children Almanacs, Ripley's Believe it or Not books, books about rocks, stars and the like. Yet even to this day, getting him to do his homework is a struggle. He likes to tinker and discover solutions to mechanical and electrical things. He enjoys taking things apart and reassembling them. He is the one in our family who has hooked up the surround sound, the dvd players, showed me how my own phone works and had discovered ways around his high school's firewalls so he can play games on his computer while in class. He is good at nearly all sports but has no desire to be on a team.

Yet I'd have to say with all these beautiful qualities, my favorite is his sense of humor. Steven has an animated way about him that when combined with his tones, comments and timing, all too many times has diffused a serious moment even to the point of my forgetting what I was scolding him about. One time when I was explaining to him that I had gotten a job and our financial troubles would soon get better, I told him that the “light was at the end of the tunnel.” His response was to get a thoughtful look on his face, stroke his chin and respond “But how long is the tunnel?” I was rolling! Another time a teacher told him (most teachers can't stand Steven btw) that if he were an animal he'd be a jackass. Steven's response was “if you were a body part, you'd be a dick”......BAHAHA!! Okay okay so as a mom I'm not supposed to find that funny but geez my son stood up for himself, refusing to allow the insult of a tyrannical teacher to get the best of him. Instead, he responded with a quick wit, and gave it right back to the teacher. The entire class roared in laughter and the teacher backed off. Yes, Steven is the class clown of all class clowns.

Steven's softness and his perfectly timed compassion when I really need a shoulder is nothing short of amazing. With my health being less that great lately, he sometimes notices when I'm tired and overwhelmed. He wraps his arms around me, tells me he loves me and suggests that I get some sleep. He asks me to tell him what's wrong and listens. Funny huh since most teenagers don't listen.

Steven's grades are awful. Not because he doesnt' understand the work or lessons, but because he has trouble sitting still. He has ADHD and I've decided to not put him on medication. Why? Because when he was on it, he was a zombie. We tried ritalin, concerta, stratera and adderol. The latter had good results, but the doctor kept raising his dosage every few months and informed me that by the time he would be 12, he would be at the maximum dosage allowed. Then what? No one was addressing coping skills. No one was teaching him how to live day to day. Yet all the “experts” were just wanting to have my son popping pills to cope. WTF? How is that coping? So I restricted his diet and removed items from our pantry that were shown to aggravate his condition. I kept a minimalistic home as much as possible to avoid excessive stimuli. Besides it looks cleaner. I talked with him and explained that there wasn't anything wrong with him but he's just a little quirky like the rest of us. This is just his quirk. And so over the years, he continues to learn how to identify when he's “off” and just needs to retreat and wait till he “feels better”. I believe acceptance and understanding are key when knowing Steven. It takes a little extra time. A tiny bit more effort, but in the end, knowing Steven is an honor, having him as a friend is a true gift and having him in my life is a blessing that I thank God for.

Why the tiny baby pics? Because when I was pregnant with Steven, I went into full labor at 24 weeks and was rushed to the hospital. After loading me up with magnesium sulfate and keeping me on my back for four days, a neo natal intensive care pediatrician consulted with me to explain what would happen if he were to be born at that stage of life. He would've had neurological issues, heart issues, brain and mental issues, breathing issues, and the list goes on. They stressed that it was crucial that one parent would have to be present to hold him and touch him every day. And that there was no telling what the long term problems would be. We (drs and I)managed to keep the pregnancy till the 38th week. So ADHD is nothing compared to how bad it could've been. The picture is of a baby the exact size that Steven would've been had he been born.

Steven has been the most challenging of all my children since infancy, but the rewards make it all worthwhile. All those people who have told me to just be harsher with discipline, to give him medication to dull his spirit so he could conform, who told me that he was bad because he got bored with their inadequate teaching “skills”....all those people were wrong. They were/are wrong in their narrow minded thinking. They're wrong to expect every child to fit in a box. They're wrong to think that all problems are solved with the cutting of a switch (yes he got spanked but some people's advice bordered abuse/control). Every child is different. Each soul is unique and to expect every soul to be molded into someone else's ideal is just unrealistic. It doesn't make someone a rebel or insolent. It simply means that it takes a little more thinking. It takes coming out of your society induced cloud of thinking and to take the time to get to know a really great person. It's been worth every minute.

Steven is not perfect by any means. He has his faults like the rest of us. I don't address them here because he has sheeple remind him daily of his shortcomings and what's the point in that?

He is a wonderful young man, full of life, humor, compassion, talent in addition to his good looks. He is smart, free, a risk taker and has one of the most beautiful souls I have ever known. He is misunderstood by the majority but so were most of the great people in history.

He is Steven. He is my son and it is my honor to be his mother.

I love you Mijo......<3

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Celebrating Heather

Yesterday my daughter turned 17. I found myself walking down memory lane, recalling those times in her life which just seemed to stick out more than others. It's been a wonderful and challenging journey. She has grown into a beautiful, free and wise young woman. She is every bit girly complete with an incredible ability to spread her massive collection of “girly things” around the house. But let me back track and start at the beginning.

Heather was born in Buffalo New York only 3 ½ months after we relocated from California. My pregnancy was a difficult one due to the stress of leaving an abusive relationship. This caused me to be in and out of the hospital regularly and to be put on medication to prevent further premature labor. She was born exactly three weeks early after only 2 ½ hours of labor. Even though she met the weight requirements to come home, she was still the smallest of all my children and had health issues right away. She eventually outgrew them. Even today I call her my “sick baby” simply because whenever she gets sick, she gets it worse than everyone else. If I have a 2 day flu, she gets it for a week. If her brother gets a 101 fever, hers is 103 and so on.

Heather's energy is lightweight, fresh, soft and a little fragile like a cool breeze in the morning when there is still dew on the ground. If I had to pick a color for her soul, it would be pink. So it does not surprise me that her favorite color is pink. I see her a soft pale pink, she prefers a brighter, stronger hue. I think the difference is due to my seeing all her frailties and her finding her strength. Either way, it's beautiful.

My daughter has the rare and beautiful ability to verbalize that which most of us cannot put into words. She can see things for how they are and is very wise beyond her years. She can see inside people and reveal hidden feelings, motives, strengths and weaknesses. Whether you want to call it the Gift of Knowledge and Wisdom or Clairvoyance.....it's beautiful.

Heather's creativity is just another of her many God given talents. In her early years, she won numerous art contests and had her artwork displayed in the local art museum. Her artwork won first and second place in competitions and has even had her artwork chosen to represent the postcard that was sent out to residents from the local Boys & Girls Club. That same artwork was framed and displayed in the Governor's office. There were many times she would get into my crafting notions and either embellish her clothing or make jewelry to wear with an outfit. As frustrating as it was to find my carefully organized items gone through, the end results were not less than amazing. Today, she channels her creativity into makeup and hairstyling. She is not afraid to experiment with new looks and often tests out her new looks at school.

While Heather is kind, compassionate and gentle, she is by no means a sucker to charm or smooth talking. She opens her heart to those who struggle and offers a helping hand whenever possible. She is also aware of the condition of our precious planet and does her part in protecting it. This can be from standing by someone's side while going through rehab, offering a caring shoulder and attentive ear to someone hurting and even going to her knees in prayer for someone who perhaps wouldn't be getting prayed for. Her benevolent spirit causes those who see it to look within themselves and makes them want to be a better, kinder and gentler person as well.

Is she perfect? Of course not. But why focus on the negative when there is SOOO much positive. She is a beautiful soul. An amazingly wise soul. She is softness in a harsh world. She is kindness in a selfish world. She is sunshine in a gray world. Her presence brings a smile to your face. In fact, I wanted her to always know how my spirit felt with her in my life, that I gave her the middle name of Victoria. She is my daughter and it is my honor to be her mother.

I love you Heather. Happy Birthday.

Namaste & God Bless,