Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Road by Cormac McCarthy - A Review

I loved the story. The writing style took a few pages to get used to. However, once I got involved with the story, I found the writing poetic at times. It was kind of like diving into a chilly swimming pool. Once the initial shock wears off, you get caught up having the time of your life. If real life hadn't interfered, I could have easily finished this book in one sitting. The mood of the book was sad, tragic, and Chekhov-esque. I can't decide whether it was because of the writing style or the story or both.

Mr. McCarthy does an excellent job of creating a post-apocalyptic world. However, I would have liked to have just a little more emotion (getting in the characters' heads). But then again, given the circumstances of the story, it's understandable how there wouldn't be much emotion left in the characters. Don't get me wrong. There IS emotion. It's just more understood than written.
It's because of this I didn't fully connect with the characters. But that's okay. It was still a very enjoyable read and I absolutely recommend this book.

For more info on what I'm reading, reviewing and talking about, find me on Goodreads 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

41 New Uses for Old Yoga Mats

If you love hacks, here are some practical ways to reuse and upcycle your old yoga mat. Most of these simply require cutting so there's little need to be crafty. Not only will you save money, but you'll be saving our landfills too. I've seen various articles and have tried several ideas. These are the tips that I found most practical and easy. At the end of the article, I'll also give you the ideas that didn't make my list and explain why. 


1)My fur family consists of 5 dogs, two of whom are large. One of them is a St Bernard. The dog bowl mats found online are usually too small to properly surround large bowls and I'm too cheap and broke to buy one. So I cut my old yoga mat into the shape of a dog bone and placed it underneath the water bowl. Perfect!

2)Use at the bottom of dog crates. It keeps bowls from sliding when traveling and adds a little extra cushion as well as keeping the blanket from bunching up.

3)Cut and place at the bottom of the sink when giving small dogs baths. Keep larger and put in the tub for larger dogs. No more slipping and sliding!

4  )Use on the seat of a car to protect it from tears from dog nails. Just cut to size for the front seat if your fur baby is riding shotgun. This works great if you have leather seats.


5)I also made a jar gripper and use it nearly every day.


7)Cut to size and place under the dish strainer. This works great.

8)Or leave a little larger to have a glass drying mat. This is great in RVs too!

9)Sleeves for beverages.

10)Make a wine stopper. This works well if the cork is damaged. 


11)Keyboard wrist pad.


13)If you're handy with a glue gun, you can make a tablet or e-reader envelope.

14)Make a lumbar support roll. This is excellent if you sit for long periods and have backaches like me. This also works well in the car.


15)Cut a piece the size of your cellphone and place on the dashboard to prevent it from sliding.

16)Make a seat belt cushion to make it more comfortable.

17)Use on the top of a vehicle or in the truck bed to prevent items from scratching the paint and shifting.

18)Place in the trunk of your car or back of SUV to prevent items from sliding around when driving.

19)Use to sit on when tailgating. Tailgates can be uncomfortable to sit on for long periods. Great for stadium seating too!

20)Make floor mats for messy outings and you don't want your nice mats to get ruined. Simply cut to the same size as your regular floor mats. Great for muddy or sandy outings.


21)Portable changing mat for baby.

22)Draw hopscotch squares and have a portable way to entertain kids when trying to get them away from electronic devices. This is great for camping or the beach.

23)Use under car seats to catch crumbs.


24)Smother weeds in the garden. Lay down over weeds and leave there until the weeds die. No chemicals are used and this can be used over and over again.

25)Knee saver when gardening. Fold over a couple of times and voila!

26)Place under potted plants to catch excess water and dirt.


27)A larger than average welcome mat wasn't on the list but it has been a life saver for sure. The amount of dirt tracked in from 5 dogs has been reduced dramatically and it cleans very easily!

28)Pads for wobbly tables that are missing those feet screws or so furniture doesn't slide.  

29)Cut into strips and use like weather stripping insulation on windows and doors.

30)Shelf and/or drawer liner. Simply cut to size.
31)Rug gripper. Place under rugs to prevent slipping.

32)Use underneath chair cushions to prevent them from sliding around.

33)Wrap metal bed frame legs and edges to not want to die when you stub your toe or bang your ankle in the middle of the night. I actually did this when my Shih Tzu lost one of her eyes to an accident and she kept bumping into the corner of the bed frame.

34)Place on the inside of floor vents when not using to prevent drafts.


35)Cut into plate-sized circles to put in between dishes to prevent breaking. You can also cut strips and wrap glasses when packing.

36)Camping or RV welcome mat.

37)Use it at the beach or those annoying slatted lounge chairs at the pool to prevent a striped rear end.

38)Use two or more and place underneath an air mattress to help prevent it from being punctured.

39)Make portable placemats. Take to picnics, camping, the beach, etc.


40)Make pads and place inside high heels to prevent feet from sliding forward and also on the inside back part of the shoe to prevent it from sliding. Secure with two sided tape if needed.

41)Make toe separators for pedicures.

These ideas didn't make it on the list and here's why:

1)The hair ribbon and hair tie with stick. Ehhh hey, I just couldn't see myself wearing these as fashion accessories. While functional, they just didn't appear fashionable enough for me. But hey, if you love it, go for it!

2)The flip flop thing. They just looked too much like the flip flops you get after a pedicure. Again, not fashionable for me. 

3)The floating keychain. This might be good for someone who has a single key on their keychain and perhaps that's what this is for, but I rarely go anywhere with just one key and especially near water. This might be good for surfers or water skiers, but this wasn't something that I could use. I've only tested it with my keychain and it didn't float. But then again, I have a lot of keys on my keychain. I can only speak for myself. Please let me know if you've tried this and it works!

4)Wallet/cell phone case. This could be cute as a kid's craft project or for younger people, but it just isn't for me.

5)Baby bath/floor mat. I originally thought this was a good idea but my mind kept picturing a baby biting off a piece and choking on it so that got scratched asap. I cannot endorse this idea. 

6)Litter box mat. Cats have claws.....and once they start clawing I imagined tiny pieces of yoga mat tracked all over the place. If it works for you, great! But when I used to have cats, they tracked stuff all over. It was a vacuuming nightmare. But if you try it, please let me know how it works for you!

All in all, these are some ideas that worked for me. Please try them and let me know how it goes for you!

I do not take credit for the pictures and credit goes to their respective artists. 
Enjoy! - Angelica Mordant

My Working Vintage Real Host Gas Stove

Buying your first house is exciting. And when it has everything on your wish list, it’s like striking gold. That’s exactly how I felt when I purchased my home a few months ago. It is a 1945 craftsman, complete with high ceilings and hardwood floors. It also came with kitchen appliances. Old appliances. And it wasn’t long until I realized that the days of calling a landlord for repairs are over.

A few days after moving in, we noticed that the refrigerator only got cold in the freezer. At first, I panicked and thought I'd start my new home adventure needing to purchase a new fridge. After a bit of research, we learned it only needed a $40 part. With a simple click on Amazon and a quick 15 minutes to replace the part, the fridge works beautifully.

The stove, however, is another story. It’s a Real Host antique gas stove, and when I first saw it, I was nearly giddy with excitement. But would it work? More importantly, was it safe? We figured the gas man would have knowledge about the stove, but he was young and needed to call in his supervisor to help. They mentioned that there were only two other people in town that had antique stoves, but they were able to get it working.

The kitchen is small. Really small. It’s just a simple walk through galley kitchen and the stove takes up most of it. There are few cupboards and not much space for storage. My boyfriend wants to do a full remodel but I want to stay true to the house’s originality. This kitchen has character. At first, we had trouble understanding why there was so little storage space. There was virtually no place for storing pots and pans without sacrificing space for food storage. I didn’t want to have to store them inside the oven and then remove them every time I used the oven. Also, because of the size of the kitchen, I really did not want to install a hanging pot rack. After a call to an antique stove restoration guy in California, he told me that the compartments to the left of the oven and broiler are for storing pots and pans. Well, that explained the storage issue. Storage problem solved!

The burners are also quirky. Even though the pilot lights work perfectly, the burners need to be manually lit. We keep a long barbecue lighter handy and simply light each burner as needed. I did that as a kid on the O’Keefe and Merrit so it really wasn't an issue. The oven, on the other hand, is a bit of a ritual. This model of stove completely shuts off the gas to the oven so there isn’t a pilot light. I suppose it is a safety feature and I'm really thankful for it. There is a small hole near the front of the inside of the oven. When the oven knob is turned to the “gas on” position, a match is supposed to be dropped or held close to that hole (we haven’t figured that part out yet) and that is what turns on the oven. But after numerous attempts at doing that, we’ve come to the realization that the oven also must be lit manually. This is done by removing the racks followed by the bottom panel that reveals the burner. The long lighter must be swept completely around each hole. Altogether, this entire process takes less than a minute and the oven works just fine. However, tonight something new happened. As I went to light the burner for the oven, the lighter was barely in front of the first flame hole and the entire burner lit beautifully! Maybe because the stove had been unused for about a year, gunk or other debris had accumulated. It was a pleasant surprise and who knows? Maybe tomorrow I’ll try to light it through the hole.

This wonderfully quirky stove also has a loose oven door. The spring on the hinge is loose. It isn't really surprising considering the age of the stove. Because of this, it’s using more gas to maintain the temperature, but so far, everything heats just fine.

Another quirk this stove has is that it emits heat. A lot of it. And we’ve had to move the refrigerator away from it, leaving a five-inch clearance to allow plenty of ventilation. The front also gets very hot as do the handles. So once the oven is on, pot holders must be used to retrieve pots and pans and also when opening the oven or compartment doors. All it takes in forgetting once and there will be no more forgetting.

Yet with all the quirks this Real Host stove has, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Just knowing it’s original to the house makes me feel nostalgic and I wonder how many thousands of meals have been made over the last 71 years. How many memories have been made with the food that was prepared in the stove that now prepares our food? For someone else, it may be just an old and quirky stove but for me, it’s a huge part of what makes my house a home. - Angelica Mordant

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.