During these trying times, managing stress, fear, and isolation is very difficult. Escaping into the pages of a book can help remedy some of these concerns, at least for a short while. Add a glass of wine and a comfy couch and it gets even better.
If you managed to get through the stack of books on your nightstand and are looking for some suggestions, then now is a good opportunity to share some favorites that, just maybe, you haven’t read.
In curating a list of lesser-known but highly readable books, this exercise forced me to leave out some of my standard ten-best, such as To Kill A Mockingbird, The Help, The Secret Life of Bees, All the Light You Cannot See and so many more.
With that in mind, I have tried my best to curate a list of lesser-known but not lesser great books. I will get this started and hopefully, you will add your favorites to the list. In no particular here are my top ten:
The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Patron Saint of Liars, Anne Patchett
Good Grief, Lolly Winston
Virgil Wander, Leif Enger
My Ex-Life: A Novel, Stephen McCauley
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel
Second Nature, Alice Hoffman
The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel
Take time for self-care and add to this list if you can so we can all get a little therapy through reading.
Breaking from our daily routines can be challenging. There is comfort in the routine and sometimes, it is the routine itself that propels you to take action.
I woke up the other morning to find out my local gym was closed. There was a moment of panic because my routine had been disrupted. How will I keep on track now that the habit has changed?
I took a deep breath and decided to try another gym. Well, of course, they were all closed. Then I decided to go to the park and go for a run. It started raining. Finally, I came home went on YouTube, found a workout, and got it done.
If you are feeling jostled by the closing of your gym – here are a few options that can keep you on track:
RUN OR WALK
Go for a run or walk in your neighborhood if you are short on time. But if you have an extra ten minutes or so, try discovering a new trail or park. I picked a trail by my house this morning and, while due to the rain it was a little wet, I found it a refreshing to change to be outdoors. I grabbed my phone and earbuds and listened to “Rising Strong” by Brene’ Brown on Audible. The perfect hack – exercise plus self-improvement in 30 minutes and 2-1/4 miles. If you are like me and need constant stimulus, an audiobook or podcast is the perfect way to make any walk or run go by faster. If not, listen to birds, music or find a walking buddy and some good conversation.
YouTube has a wide selection of free workouts. You may have to watch an ad, but I just let it play while I get my mat, towel, and water ready. I have been using Fitness Blender. Hosted by a husband and wife team, they have a many types of workouts at varying lengths. I like that they have modifications for each move and that they are easy to follow.
Yoga is one of the easiest practices to do at home since it requires so little equipment – a mat, and possibly a block and strap. Yoga with Adriene, on YouTube, is my favorite, but the selection runs far and wide. There are also some great yoga apps such as Yoga Studio, https://www.yogastudioapp.com/
If you don’t already have a home gym, now might be a good time to invest in a few fitness accessories. If you have limited space, I suggest a mat that can be used for both exercise and yoga, and a few hand weights. There are so many exercises using your own body weight, so if you really don’t have space, then just buy a mat. If you have some storage or a dedicated space, I would add a stability ball, resistance bands, and resistance tubing. I am going to give a shameless plug here to the company where I was employed for over a decade. Go to gaiam.com and you can find all of these things or if you are looking to get out of the house, you can find all these items in the sporting goods aisle at Target.
Here is the silver lining. Changing my routine has forced me to challenge new muscles. I wake to sore muscles telling me I needed to do this anyway.
If you don’t have a fitness routine, this may be a good time to start. It will help you manage your stress, strengthen your body and immune system while elevating your mood. If you didn’t work from home before, and are now, use your morning or evening commute time to start a new routine.
Good luck and let us know if you have any fitness tips that will help keep us all motivated.
Mixing patterns continues to be a design trend in 2020.
Mixing patterns will give your home style, character, and depth. That said, combining patterns can also be complicated resulting in chaotic and unbalanced design. In order to ensure that you apply this trend with success, here are the basic guidelines:
Use no more than three patterns and be sure to vary in size – large, medium, and small.
Distribute the patterns evenly around the room to ensure proper balance.
Use colors that are the same hues and intensity.
Be sure to break up the patterns with solids.
For a subtle look, use tone on tone colors.
Another thing to consider when selecting a pattern is what style you are going for as this will set the tone of the room. Here are some examples:
Florals in pastel colors will help you achieve a soft, airy, feminine look.
Vivid color and eclectic prints will result in a bohemian style. The trick is to make it look unstructured yet balanced.
Geometric patterns work well in modern, luxe and minimalistic décor. The look is clean and angular and needs to be softened with rounded furniture and spherical shapes.
If you looking for luxe and ready to go big, animal prints will deliver that look.
Bordering on eclectic, a global style feels earthy and welcoming. The prints are bold with strong colors or muted colors.
Depending on the type, stripes can give you either a farmhouse or a nautical look. Bold stripes in cool colors will give you a coastal feel while delicate stripes like ‘ticking” will give you a farmhouse or rustic vibe.
Once you know the rules, playing with pattern can be both a great way to update a room without spending a great deal of money. Have fun and share your pattern mixing ideas with us!
Happy St. Patty’s Day! There is more to celebrate than green beer today. In 2020, green is showing up in varying shades giving you many ways to update your space.
Color sets the mood in your home and green is known to evoke balance, harmony and growth. Depending on the hue, green can make a bold statement or can act as a neutral color. Here are four ways to reimagine your space:
Cushing Green by Benjamin Moore
This rich and elegant color is part of the Benjamin Moore Historic Color Collection that can be used in traditional as well as contemporary spaces.
Current Mood by Clare
This color green is not for the faint of heart, but I love the depth and drama that this could lend any space.
Hunter Green is having its day this year. Strong, earthy and masculine, this color is bold yet traditional.
This fresh minty green could easily be used as a neutral color on walls, kitchen cabinets and on doors as pictured here.
Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day and let us know how you are using green in your home!
2020 Interior Design Trends Highlight the Revival of Cane & Rattan.
Natural and woven materials get a complete overhaul resulting in a contemporary aesthetic that works with many interior decors such as modern, transitional, eclectic and, of course, coastal – just to name a few. Once relegated to porches and patios this trend is appearing in several offerings ranging from high-end furniture lines to mass merchants, such as Target. Along with another 2020 interior design trend “sustainable materials”, natural fibers such as cane, rattan, and seagrass are showing up in furniture, cabinets, pendant lighting, wall art and more. There are many ways to integrate them into your home. Here are a few inspirations:
Every year The Pantone Institute determines the color of the year “through thoughtful consideration and trend analysis.” The color of the year influences “product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.”
The Institute describes “Classic Blue” as follows:
“Suggestive of the sky at dusk, the reassuring qualities of the thought-provoking PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”
I am a huge fan of blue. I find almost every shade can be easily applied to interior design. This specific color, for me, presents some challenges. Less early evening sky and more New York Giants, I feel this color is almost too simplistic. With that in mind, I would integrate this color in smaller measures such as home accessories, prints, and maybe even wallpaper in small areas. I would avoid larger furniture and interior paint as I don’t think it has staying power and you might quickly tire of it. Here are some ideas on how you can easily integrate the color of the year into your home.