Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Vintage Housewife

In my online searches for unique Christmas presents...I've come across some beautiful vintage pieces that I just adore. There's something appealing about a simple vintage apron and a classic milk glass cake stand. It got me thinking about the items that I am finding so charming and joyful and what they represented from the time that they originated. Although, I find a cake stand charming to put on a shelf there was a time when the cake stand had a cake on it, and the apron was worn daily. I did some research about the "50's Housewife" and realized that I'm not alone in my attraction towards this era. I've heard many of my close friends say that they wish they had been a housewife during this time. What is it that makes us long to be a "vintage housewife"? I think it represents a simpler time for women because there was less to juggle. Women today are expected to work, take care of children, the household and husband. When I imagine my life as a vintage housewife I have visions of polka dot aprons and jello molds and "Hi...honey I'm home..." Images of this 50's housewife show her as a domestic goddess in which she is always smiling, husband standing proud and well taken care of, children in smocked dresses that obeyed, house smelling of cake made from scratch. There were litte choices for her to decide upon besides...pot roast or tuna casserole. She wears pearls while baking and spends her free time getting her hair set in curlers. She sews, she knits, she gardens.

photocredit from top left: 1. vintage milk glass 2. white and green 3. vintage milk glass buffet 4. polka dot

So in my research to find out what exactly was the role of the 50's housewife I came across some rules. Here's a few points from the "Good Housewives Guide" from housekeeping monthly 1955:

1. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

2. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

3. Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

Okay, so maybe it's true that my husband does like it when I'm a bit "gay" when he gets home, ...however maybe it is for the best that a woman's role has evolved since 1955. There's nothing wrong with donning a charming apron if it makes you happy or admiring a few vintage cake stands on your shelf. You can still hold your feminist values and still find joy from baking up a great heirloom recipe from scratch or taking pride in your home by ironing your pillow cases or setting a beautiful table. It is nice that in todays world we actually have the choice to "play" housewife when we are feeling like it and go through the drive-thru when we don't. Yes, it's easier when we have less choices but we are blessed to have them. The 50's housewife would have delighted in the microwave and frozen entrees, it would have made her job of having dinner ready and then being " a little gay and a little more interesting for him" a whole lot easier. However, let us not forget the simple pleasures that come from stepping in the vintage housewives shoes every once in a while.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Feeling Inspired by...Kate Spade

On a rare occasion during one of my Homesense/Winners shopping excursions I come across something made by Kate Spade. Kate Spade is the co-founder and namesake of the designer brand Kate Spade New York. Spade majored in journalism while working in a biker bar. She eventually became a fashion editor and head of accessories for "Mademoiselle" magazine. Disappointed by the lack of fashionable purses, Spade was determined to design her own using fabrics and shapes she found browsing through flea markets. Eventually "Kate Spade" grew into an empire which Liz Claiborne bought for more than $130 million. Personally, I love that her stuff always has a touch of wit and whimsy with bright colours like her signature green or polka dots...have I mentioned I LOVE polkadots. I have yet to not have my heart skip a beat when I look at her designs. From handbags to housewares I am enamored with everything that is Kate Spade. Here are a few examples of Kate's designs that bring me so much joy!

Love it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

So my day today went like so:

Got to work and proceeded to decorate my classroom bulletin board in preparation for the Christmas season while sipping my coffee. After my shift was over, i did some paperwork while eating my Kashi cereal for breakfast (trying to sneak that protein and fibre in) the whole time telling my co-worker Jenn stories about my life. I get home to my two babies staring up at me, the phone rings its my friend Sunshine needing some advice on a project, my husband is leaning in for a kiss good-bye and I start right away to making the beds. In a desperate attempt to keep my house clean in this somewhat crazy life of mine I sought out the advice of my good friend Martha Stewart. Martha suggests that if you only do these 6 things a day, they will help keep your house kept up. So here goes the list as posted on my fridge and what it really looks like in action at my house.

1. Make the beds...easy enough if the bedding wasn't covered in pee pee leaks and milk spillage, therefore leading me to have to change the bedding.

2. Manage Clutter...she makes that sound so duh! stupid you just manage the clutter...that pretty much could consume an entire day in a house with a 1 year old and a three year old. Doll house furniture everywhere, mega blocks in every corner. The best part being, as you are tidying the doll house they are ripping out the bin of hotwheels and dumping it in the next room! So, here's how I manage it: some great advice from my queen of clean friend Sunshine, grab a laundry basket and go around the house collecting everything that is on the floor or out of place. Then one of us will find a home for the stuff at the end of the day. However I must mention that a basket I collected 3 days ago still sits in the corner of my dining room.

3. Sort the mail....bills....bills...junk mail in the garbage....bills...stick them in the drawer...

4. Clean as you cook...So as working parents Alex and I pick up the kids at daycare at 5:30 p.m. By this time they are starving. They are begging at our heels for scraps of cheese and hunks of bread! We scramble around the kitchen- And it sounds a little like this : Clang-Bang-Bubble-Bubble-BEEP (microwave) in a mad dash to feed our little ones before they get ugly. And by the time I announce "Dinner Time!" I look around in amazement at the bomb that just snuck up and hit my kitchen.

5. Wipe up spills as they are fresh...I can do that, if I can find them when they are fresh. For example the other day stepping in some spilled, now sticky, orange juice I didn't find while it was fresh.

6. Sweep the kitchen problem!

My point to all this is that I try, we all try, to find a balance to get the little things done in our day to help our lives run more smoothly. Its this juggling act where we attempt to keep all these balls in the air at once. We all do it, even if your not a mom, maybe you are a student working 2 jobs or maybe you have a demanding career that gives you more than enough balls to juggle right there at the office. Of course, I set my intentions for a clean house, happy children, loving relationship with husband, great friendships, successful career and most importantly, take care of myself. I have every single self-help book on the market to help me do this better. However I've come to realize that some of the balls just have to be dropped...and that's okay. For today, the hotwheels are still in the corner...the clutter basket still sits...the laundry pile is insane...but I took the time to nurture my friendships and I made time to be able to write this blog entry, which makes me happy. Maybe tomorrow the blog will have to wait, as I sort that mail pile and wash some bedding.

I believe that we do have the power to get things done, working at full speed, multi-tasking the whole way through. But I know women who do that and they burnout, and then you are no good to anyone. Once they burn out it takes everything in them at the end of the day to do anything besides nurse their bottle of wine. They can't imagine ever making love again. They can't bring themselves to answer another phone call. This is what I've seen happen to women who are everything to everyone all the time. This balance that I seek is to prevent this kind of burnout before I too end up charred. For me, finding balance in life is not something that can just be achieved by reading just the right book, with just the right simple steps. Its a personal journey, that takes constant re-evaluating. It takes giving it all you got but then realizing when to put on the brakes and say thats enough. Despite what my friend Martha says, its not that easy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

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Song: You and I-Ingrid Michaelson

Law of attraction and affirmations

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
-Wayne Dyer

Most people go about their days in an semi-conscious state. Not fully paying attention to what their minds are telling them all day long. There is scienctific evidence that 90% of our thoughts are exactly the same thoughts you had yesterday. Just what are we telling ourselves? What is the non-stop regurgitated chatter going on in there, and is it helping or is it harming our days? Thoughts like "There's never enough time..." "I'm always so tired"..."There's nothing to do..." "I'm so stressed out..." "I wonder if I said that wrong?..." "I'm broke..." All of these sound like excuses...excuses that hold us back from living a full and rich life.
If you read the book or saw the movie "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne than you'd know that through the law of attraction thoughts become things and what you focus on will be what you attract more of into your life. The very concept of this blog is based on this fact...if I focus on joy, I will attract more joy. If I focus on beauty, then beauty will expand in my life. Long before "The Secret" I read Wayne W. Dyer's book "The Power of Intention" and it helped me see things in a different way. I realized that I was in control of how my life ended up by setting my intentions for attracting abundance, peace, love and success. A little while ago Dr. W.W.D. was talking about his book "Excuses be Gone" on a PBS special (which I recorded) and I sat down with my pen (actually my favourite crayola markers) and took note of some affirmations that he suggests will replace all the useless counterproductive "excuses" we give ourselves to hold us back from living the life we were meant to. I also created a few of my own. Here is a list I've compiled to inspire others to change their thoughts and in turn change their lives:
*My life is handled with ease and grace
*I am strong and have unlimited energy
*I am open and willing to attract all that I desire beginning here and now
*I can accomplish anything I put my mind to
*Being myself involves no risks. Its my ultimate truth and I live fearlessly
*I have infinite patience (good one for mommies)
*I'd rather be loathed for who I am than loved for who I am not (I like this one alot)
*I am connected to an unlimited source of abundance
*The right circumstances and the right people are already here and will show up on time
*I am passionate about my life and this passion fills me with excitement and energy

Here are a few of my favourite books by Dr.Wayne W. Dyer:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Celebrating your authentic style: Dresses

"To choose clothes, either in a store or at home, is to define and describe ourselves."
-Alison Lurie

Despite the fact that I am a busy working mom I try to outfit myself in clothes that make me feel confident and speak to my inner spirit. I truly believe that being a busy mom is no reason to not take care of yourself and wear clothes that make you feel good. Of course, yoga pants and a super soft cotton-t shirt have their time and place in the daily grind of mommyville. However, sweat pants that are a size too big and faded t-shirts make you feel just as crappy as you look. I like to choose clothes and accessories that make me feel pretty and sexy. Just like home decor, I like to don clothes that make me feel happy and are authentically me!

With the jolly holidays just around the corner I am busy searching for the "perfect" Christmas dress for my daughter Ruby to wear. Then it occured to me that I deserve a holiday too! I found this web site and it inspired to me to imagine how stunning I might look on New Year's or a Christmas Eve open house in one of these charming dresses. Even if I never actually end of purchasing one of these dresses, how fun are they to just admire. These dresses have classic lines and something about them has a certain vintage appeal. Here are just a couple of the dresses that I am particularly enchanted by...Loving this site!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Joy Blog: Tiffany blue and Red

So I've come across this cheerful colour combination that I have fallen head over heels for! I've decided that I must bring more of this into my life because the sight of those two together brings me so much JOY! Christmas this year at my house will be all things red and tiffany/aqua blue. I have visions of shiny red and aqua ornaments dancing in my head! Here are some pretty pictures to see what has inspired me:

From top: 1. Vintage button flowers photo- lilifish studios' photostream

2. Kimono silk buttons photo- tigerlillyshop 3. Aqua & Cherry Blossom print:

4. Christmas packaging- Wink Designs 5. La La Love You print-

6. Kitchen Display-

7. Christmas tote/gift bag- Wink Designs

8. Pinwheel pin- site unknown 9. Sailor Skirt- the fabled needle

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Joy Blog...Pleasure Journal

"The secret to happiness is simple: Find out what you truly love to do and direct all of your energy towards doing it. Once you do this, abundance flows into your life and all your desires are fulfilled with ease and grace."-unknown

Sarah Ban Breathnach swears by a gratitude journal in her book "Simple Abundance." I agree with her when she says "the more you have and are grateful for the more will be given to you." So it is suggested that after each days end you reflect upon your day and consider all the things that you have to be grateful for that day. For me personally, gratitude is great for days when I'm feeling negative or in a slump. The days when I feel my life is a total mess, my relationships are a disaster, my finances are a sad state. Basically, on the days when I feel hopeless. Being grateful for the big things helps me to feel hope and remind me that my life is more abundant than I can remember at that moment. When I say being grateful for the big things I mean:
*My children
*My partner
*My health
*The health of my family
* Our house
*Our 2 cars
*My friends
*Our jobs

Those to me are the big things in life I am grateful for and most days even if I'm angry at the children and husband or I'm hating my house because it is "too small" I can recognize them as blessings, even through a negative filter. The big things convince me keep going...
A pleasure journal convinces me that life is filled with joys that make life worth living. Now, like I said, you can't be in a mood as discussed above when you sit down to write this. This is for days when I'm are feeling okay, or the days when I am feeling happy! Its appreciating the little things that bring me pleasure and focusing on those things in my day.
I like to consider all 5 senses (or somedays 6 senses) when I sit down to write in my pleasure journal. Here's an example of an entry in my own personal journal:

*Sipping strong hot coffee, along with my journals, my favourite books in the early a.m.

*Hearing Alex say "I love you" spontaneously

*Using colourful markers for anything possible

*Hot lemon water before bed

*Playing with Jalen and Ruby while they giggle hysterically

*Chatting up market vendors on Saturday morning.

*Buying my first pair of skinny jeans

When you begin to focus on these pleasures you realize what you should have more of in your life, like love and laughter and coffee out of polkadot mugs and you realize that if you brought more of these simple pleasures to your everyday life you would feel more joy. And isn't that what we all ultimately want...happiness.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Simple Abundance Journey

"Many women today feel a sadness we cannot name. Though we accomplish much of what we set out to do, we sense that something is missing in our lives and- fruitlessly-search "out there" for the answers. What's often wrong is that we are disconnected from an authentic sense of self."
-Emily Hancock

My blog and my journey towards Simple Abundant Living was started this Saturday morning officially, this journey did not begin here today, I decided that today was the day I would share this journey with you. If I look back and consider my childhood, my passion for joy and beauty and purpose and inspiration began at a very early age. I delighted in simple pleasures like having "real tea" for the tea party, starting book clubs and fashion clubs and party clubs in my tweens, taking the neighbouhood kids to the park for a picnic I planned (age 11) with tiny sandwiches and drink boxes, setting the dining table in my doll house with the minature cutlery, and a fake turkey on a platter on a plastic faux silver platter, daydreaming in secret hiding places, running barefoot through the mud and puddles after it rained. Even back then I knew that those moments were special, I had concious awareness that these things brought me joy and that these little things were what I wanted to create my life around. To me, simple abundance is finding Big Joy in the little things, its having self awarness, knowing what things make your heart skip a beat and bringing those things into your life, knowing what things you truly love to do and direct all of your energy towards doing it. Once you focus your energy on bringing these elements of your own personal joy to your life, more of it flows into your life and all of your dreams begin to be fulfilled right before your eyes.

Sarah Ban Breathnach was able to put it all together for me when I stumbled upon her book "Simple Abundance." It was through this book that I began my exploration of my authentic self. I find that knowing oneself takes commitment, like any relationship. Sometimes, we get lost in "real life" with bills, screaming children, deadlines at work, "to do" lists and "have to's" and we forget that all that "stuff" is not you, your authentic self is tucked in there, deep in your core, waiting for your awareness and your attention. And when I am connected to "her" I know it. Such as right now as the rest of my family is still sleeping, my pumpkin scented candle burns, I sip coffee from my red and white polka dot mug, stacks of my favourite books surround me and I know that this is simple abundance to me and I feel "her" smiling on the inside.

Follow your bliss...what inspires you? what do love doing so much that time just seems to slip away? What catches your attention? What have you always thought about doing but have not got around to because you "don't have time" or "don't have money."

This is my blog about following my bliss...please enJOY :)