The Choice .... Simply BE AT Peace

By the Pond in our Front Yard, my wee friends

The Choice..... Simply Be At Peace

Lifetime after Lifetime,
Fighting for Justice
Picture by Maja Larsen

Unable not to
when confronted by ...

Doing it's evil deeds.

Forever Exposing it

Then cutting it off..


A Prisoner of the Passion

For Unity..

And they tease me and taunt me..
In roles of Power they kill my fellow men..

And say I can do nothing but stand by and watch

Because they Have all the Power...

And the masses have been lied to for so long
they don't have much of a clue as to what is really going on...

But that was my Yesterday
And the day before that....


I simply want to Be.

You don't have to wait to die

To go to Heaven

Pretty much you just have to ACCEPT it

Here and Now.

The "Here and Now" that is Eternity.

You just gotta drop the Shackles

And Accept.

When I see the most recent manipulations

trickling out through the media

Setting up the Masses on a nice line
to their destruction..

I wanna jab,
I wanna .....


Come on People

Open your eyes...

And don't Buy the Lie...
He didn't do it !!!

Because I gotta quit feeling responsible 

for fixing it..

I can't fix it..

My Job now is to

Live in Peace


What "they" do..
isn't my concern...

So I'm thinking that maybe if I write out a List

Of all the Lies I can think of that the Masses are now,
and have been fed..

Just get it out of my system..

Out "There"...  
where I can be done with it...

Then I can get on with my Job of

Being AT Peace

We only "Win"
When we give up the Battle..

We can not "win in a,

"Fight for Peace"

We can

Simply Be At Peace






The other day my dad told me that I inspire him.  When I talk with him about my fight for recovery and what I want to accomplish in the next few years, he is inspired to take control of his life and live out his dreams.  He told me I make him realize how life is supposed to be lived.

This is the man that I look up to and learn so much from.  He has been my rock through the most excruciatingly difficult times in my life and has never wavered in his support for me.  He has (and continues to) put a roof over my head and food in my belly because I have been too sick and broke to do so.

He takes care of me, and is helping me grow into the woman I wish to be.  He inspires me, yet my journey inspires him in return.

Who are you inspiring? Who are you fighting for?

I fight because I love my younger cousin.  She is 14 and about to enter high school.  I don’t want her to think that beauty and weight are the most important things in life.  I want her to have an older cousin she can look to for support.

I fight because I have friends in NYC in the performing arts who deal with harsh rejection every day.  They are made to feel that they are not pretty enough, thin enough or good enough.  They hear “no” over and over and over again.  I want them to know that success may be just around the corner, and that fighters come out on top.

I fight because I know that there are others out there who feel lonely and tired.  They don’t know anyone who is dealing with the issues they are facing, and don’t know where to turn for help.  They aren’t sure if life is ever going to get better.  I want them to feel that they have a safe place, a community where they can get the support they need.  I want them to see that recovery is possible, one step at a time.

Fight because you never know who you are inspiring.  I didn’t know that I was inspiring my dad.

I’m just me.  I don’t have an army of people asking for me to lead them to a better life.  My cousin has yet to ask me questions about body image.  My friends in NYC have yet to cry on my shoulder because they feel rejected.  Right now, my fight is my own.  But when the time comes, and I am needed, I want to be there.  I want to be able to be that support.  I fight now so that I can help others fight in the future.

White Subway Tile with Dark Grout

As part of my mom's mini kitchen reno last week, she ripped out her old back splash and installed these subway tiles from Home Depot (By herself! She's amazing!).

We decided that a darker grout would both hold up better against staining and would also be a nice way to help the white of the cabinets work with the black of the counter tops.

I also love that it's a tiny bit graphic and a little edgier than plain white grout.

Here are some of my favorite kitchens and baths featuring subway tile with dark grout:

Elle Decor

Elle Decor


Steven Gambrel

Anna Spiro

Viking ad

Elle Decor

Be Happy

"When I was 5 years old, my mother told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down "happy". They told me I didn't understand the assignment.
I told them they didn't understand life."
— John Lennon


This post is brought to you by HP. For more information on HP and HP products visit us at TheNextBench.

HP ENVY 14: Sound, Style & Speed

By Gizmo Gladstone from HP’s

One of HP’s sleeker notebooks is the ENVY 14. Its metal alloy case, muscular components and speedy processor make the system look and function amazingly. WIRED Magazine recently named it “Computer of the Year.”

But there’s more than meets the eye here. Or should I say ear. The ENVY 14 sports audio technology that HP created with Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records. Called HP Beats Audio, it’s intended to make music sound like it does in the studio.

You can hear Jimmy explain more about Beats Audio. He believes that the digital revolution that made music portable also eroded its quality. His partnership with HP is about undoing some of that damage.

There’s a lot of secret sauce involved in Beats Audio technology. You can learn the basics and see a video explaining it on my blog post about Beats, where I talk about a very important part of the technology package, the audio jack.

If you’d like more information on the system, here are some other highlights:

- Integrated Optical Drive. It comes standard with a slot-loading drive, something that’s not common in systems this small (the ENVY 14 is 1.09 inches thick.)

- Backlit Keyboard. Whether you're typing in a dimly lit cafe or on a late-night flight, being able to see the keys is, well, key. That feature is on board with the ENVY 14.

- More efficient port layout. Putting all jacks and ports in the same area may look good aesthetically, but it could block other ports. All it takes is one oversized USB dongle and you're covering the neighboring inputs. The ENVY 14 divides the ports on the left and right sides to avoid that problem.

- The Right Price. Sure, I enjoy rolling up hundred dollar bills and lighting them on fire as much as the next guy, but for the most part, I'd prefer to save a couple bucks. The nicest surprise with the ENVY 14 is that it’s priced reasonably compared to similar systems, starting at just $999.

Gizmo Gladstone is a gamer, a full-blown nerd and Blogger-in-Chief on HP’s gadget blog, where he writes about how to get the most out of your tech.

Confessions of a beta male Part VII: Being one's self

The question of your alpha status often boils down to, are you doing what you want to do, and do you ever feel compelled to act in any way which does not reflect the real you?

An alpha male is perfectly comfortable in his own skin. Mine usually feels about two sizes too small -- or too big -- depending on the situation.

If hanging out with some toughs, an alpha just acts like himself. I try to pretend to be tough. (While fooling no one.)

If I'm with a group of guys who ooh and aah over a woman I don't consider attractive, I feel obliged to at least ooh along. An alpha says, "That beast? Are you kidding me?!" with such forceful conviction that it causes the others to reevaluate their original opinions.

If I'm asked to attend something I don't like, for instance the opera, I sometimes knuckle under. An alpha just says no.

If an alpha somehow ends up at that opera anyway, he will slump back in his seat and fall asleep. I fidget uncomfortably in my seat and look around to see if there's anyone else who looks as bored as I feel.

If an alpha is with some rich people, he'll think, what a bunch of spoiled scumbags. I just feel poor.

If an alpha is with some intellectuals, he'll think, what a bunch of pretentious asswipes. I'll start using phrases like "as it were" and "Correct me if I'm wrong, but..."

If I get invited to a Super Bowl party, I'll sit quietly at the end of the couch, hoping that my lack of football knowledge isn't too apparent. An alpha will plop himself down in the middle of the couch and ask for the remote so he can change the channel.

If I'm with a group who is bemoaning, say, the tsunami which hit Japan, I'll at least pay lip service to the horror of the tragedy. An alpha will say, "Did you see the way that thing lifted up those cars like they were little toy boats in a bathtub? It was freaking awesome!"

If I'm stuck talking to a boring person at a cocktail party, I'll continue talking to him in an effort to be agreeable. An alpha will just walk off when that person is mid-sentence.

If a woman asks me if I think that dress makes her look fat, I automatically reply, "No, not at all." An alpha just shrugs and says, "Whaddaya expect, a miracle?"

If I have dinner with a recovering alcoholic, I'll abstain out of consideration. An alpha will order drinks for both of them.

When I'm going to a party, I make sure not to get there late, because I don't want to be rude. At the same time, I don't get there too early, so as not to appear overly eager. So I appear promptly at ten minutes past the invite time. An alpha just gets there whenever he gets there.

If I'm the oddball in any way at any sort of gathering, I do my best to hide that and blend in. If an alpha is the odd man out in a group of 100, he wonders why the other 99 are so weird.

Antique Prints in IKEA Frames

Like I mentioned earlier, the main part of my mom's kitchen is very white. So when we added the green wallpaper and painted the island navy blue, it seemed like a good idea to add some white to that side of the room to get some more balance.

When I imagined what art we were going to put over the island, I really wanted two big botanical prints with fruits and vegetables. I did a little searching and nothing I found was the right size or price. So we went antique shopping and found these antique Audobon prints for $26 for all four.

We decided to use just the three blue bird prints in the kitchen and to put the yellow finches in another room. These definitely needed to be reframed though.

I love the modern look and the very reasonable price of IKEA's Ribba frames. My only complaint is the long, european sizing of the mats. It makes framing standard US sized prints very tricky. And getting custom mats cut is more expensive than these frames so we needed a make-it-work solution.

I thought about getting some velvet ribbon to cover the gap between the matting and the print, but first I thought I'd try just painting out the gap. I used a little bit of flat black latex paint right on the paper that comes with the frame. I didn't thinking it would work because it was a little ripple-y at first, but it dried pretty flat.

I LOVE the way the black accents the print. It looks really custom, right?

We hung the frames 3" apart from each other, which is how far apart I usually hang frames in gallery walls.

So, I guess I have two complaints about the Ribba frames. Those lame wire hanging mechanisms on the back always slip and are such a pain to use. And if you hang the frame just by the lip of the moulding, it eventually stretches the wood and the frame begins to sag.

To fix the problem, we bought some of these keyhole fasteners:

And attached them along the top corners of the frame, using a drill and the provided screws. It's a good idea to make a little pilot hole first to avoid any splitting.

We did a little marking and then my Dad drilled in a couple Wall Dog screws to hang these.

The frames are super secure with the new keyhole fasteners. My mom's happy she won't have to be constantly straightening these. And we both love the way the prints look against the wallpaper and with the navy island.

What is a courageous game show host?

As a long time viewer of Jeopardy, I couldn't help but feel a small thrill of pride after reading this article:

Addendum, two hours later: turns out it was a 56-year-old woman he was chasing; maybe not quite as courageous after all.

Blogging as a Career

I get a lot of questions about the business of blogging. I've posted about my thoughts on growing blog traffic here, but I thought it might be a good idea to talk about advertising. It seems like it's the elephant in the room with the blogging community lately and I always feel better when I am open and honest. So bear with me here.

In this post on Cup of Jo, I mentioned that a year or two ago my blog transitioned from a hobby into a paying job. I think at the time I had about 250,000 monthly page views (just in case you're a fellow blogger and wanting a reference point). I noticed about then that I was spending 20-40 hours a week working on my blog. Every day I would get 100-200 emails. I get more now. Some are press releases or ridiculous, basically spam emails. But many require responses. The time to read and respond to even a quick email really adds up.

Then there's the actual posting. As you fellow bloggers know, even the simplest posts take about an hour to put together -- Editing and uploading the photos takes the most time. Linking takes a while. And then writing the copy can be really time consuming. The longer posts require 3-6 hours of work just to put together - not counting the time to actually do the project or photograph the room, etc. Crazy, right?

I hope to not come across as defensive or like I'm complaining. I'm just trying to keep it real. Seriously, I really, really love my job. I'm so grateful to you readers and the support you guys give me and my family. Every now and then I get a nasty commenter, but for the most part, you guys are only ridiculously sweet and supportive. Virtual hearts!

All this to say that there is usually sort of a turning point when a blogger can start to feel like what they have is more like a business and less like a hobby. For some, this is when the sparkle of blogging starts to fade because it is easy to get caught in the weeds of the business/administrative side of things. I don't think this is a job a person can do unless they are passionate about the subject matter. That said, it can get hard to dedicate the time necessary to maintain something that's just a hobby. Eventually it needs to make financial sense too.

A couple years ago, I started using Google Adsense as a way to offset the cost of blogging - both in terms of time and the expense of the projects I was posting about. Adsense is a free service that is open to any blogger. Though I think they suggest waiting to add the program to your site until you're getting about 10,000 page views a month (I suggest using Google Analytics for traffic tracking). Adsense pays based on traffic and ad clicks. I did Adsense for a couple years and I also accepted (still accept!!) private sponsors, who advertise with the banners in the column to the right.

Earlier this year I was signed by Federated Media, which I was thrilled about. FM is an amazing ad network run by creative, thoughtful people. It had been a dream of mine to work with FM and I'm giddy that I can call myself one of their authors.

FM now manages the ads that you see on my site (excluding the private, small business ads previously mentioned). Also, I recently decided that I am going to try out hosting sponsored posts on LGN. I like to think of a sponsored post as a lot like a commercial. Some of them will be posts that I write, others might be something written by the sponsor.

This has been a tough choice. I am not making a fortune off of my site. I'm sure I'd make a better living if I spent all my time decorating. I keep blogging though because I think it will continue to provide me with good opportunities in the future, but most of all because I love blogging and I love my readers.

Have you been sensing how fast and furious the blog industry is growing? It's really fascinating to me. I've been watching, like you have too, I'm sure, as bloggers have begun to really capitalize on the success of their blogs. I think that some bloggers are handling it *just right*. Sometimes I feel like others might be acting a little sneaky with how they're monetizing their blogs. I worry those few bloggers in the minority are giving the rest a bad rap and making some readers annoyed whenever they see an ad. Me, personally, as a reader, I get it. We all need to make a living and I don't hold that against anyone else. But, me as a blog author, I never, ever, ever want money-making opportunities to overshadow the genuine, hard work I put into this site.

I know not everyone will love seeing these occasional "commercials" but here's what I can promise:

1) I will do my best to keep sponsored posts to a minimum. I'm anticipating only one or two a month.

2) On the very few days that a sponsored post goes up where the content is not mine, I will also be posting a regular content post and I'll try to make it extra good!

3) The words "SPONSORED POST" will be at the top of each of these posts, making it easy to skip past if you're not interested.

4) I am hand-selecting each of my sponsors. I promise to continue to work only with companies that I like and want to support. Not all of them will be design-related companies, but most will. They really will look and feel like commercials.

So there it is. It's not an easy subject to discuss - money and advertising. But after some consideration, I decided it was worth sharing with you lovely, thoughtful readers. Tomorrow my first sponsored post will go live. Thank you in advance for your support with this. I promise to give you lots of the good stuff in return.


PS Also tomorrow, look forward to a post on making too-small art fit beautifully in large frames!

PPS There has been some further clarification in the comments section, so feel free to read my answers there and ask more questions if you have them. Thanks!

Wallpaper in my Mom's Kitchen

When I posted here a while back about using wallpaper in kitchens, my mom called me and said she wanted to do that in her house and asked me to keep an eye out for a fun pattern. Then I found this Brunschwig and Fils wallpaper and my mom loved it as much as I did.

I'm so mad at myself for not taking before pictures! You can see here that my mom had done sort of like a shabby chic crackle paint treatment on this wall a few years ago and she was ready to update.

We hung the wallpaper ourselves using foam mini rollers to quickly spread on the wallpaper paste. Hanging wallpaper is definitely a two person job, but it goes quickly once you get into a groove. We did these two walls in about two hours, start to finish. (even with little ones wanting to assist)

This 12" brush is a lifesaver for hanging wallpaper. Once you have started placing a sheet at the top of the wall, use this brush to smooth down the rest of the paper. It really helps to reduce wrinkles and makes the job go really fast.

You know how when you finish one project in a room, suddenly you want to redo a few other things? As soon as we had the wallpaper up, my mom wanted to repaint her butcher block island (you can see it to the right in the picture below) and she also was not loving the brown accent tiles in the back splash here.

The island got repainted and we also decided to try painting over the brown tiles.

We used an off-white latex paint in high gloss to cover up the brown. This tile is not in the main part of the kitchen - it's just a decorative tile in a lower use place, so we weren't that concerned about durability. I know that there are paints specially formulated for painting over ceramic tile though if you want a more durable solution.

The navy blue color on the island and the white accent tile make all the difference here. Also, it's worth mentioning that we made the mistake of cutting all the wallpaper pieces in the same place on the pattern. We assumed that the wall was even, but it's actually pretty rare for a ceiling to be completely level. We ended up being about half an inch off (as you can see in photos above). It was an easy fix though with a piece of inexpensive molding and a little sample pot of matching green paint (which we also used for touch ups other places).

We also picked up six new bar stools from IKEA as part of the revamp. So far we are pretty happy with the Ingolf stools and the ticking stripe chair pads.

The island was painted in Valspar's Jazz Club, which I think looks great with my mom's granite and the new art we hung (more on that later this week). The main part of the kitchen is mostly white -- painted cabinets and a subway tile back splash--so this wallpaper is a really fun departure.

The kitchen is open to this family room that we redecorated a year or two ago. One of my favorite little details is a pair of decorative cornices I found at a flea market a while back. We hung the pieces in the wall corners and it sort of frames out the view into the kitchen. There's a matching cornice on the other side too.

Observations Thus Far

For swimming fans only:,-Swimming:-Observations-Thus-Far

Back in the Big Apple

I got back to NYC tonight after three whole weeks in Arizona and California. It was such a fun trip - filled with lots of friends and family time...

PS If you're an iPhone user, you should definitely try Instagram. It's a fun (free!) photo editing app that is nothing short of addicting. My user name is jennykomenda if you want to follow me. xoxo