Monday, March 23, 2015

accessorizing the bathroom and our latest project

 

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Well the good news is that our bathroom renovation is pretty much finished. I just have to finish painting the door.

And this weekend I added some accessories and managed to get some photos to share with you.

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Although getting clear photos ended up being way harder than I thought; taking pictures inside a bathroom with all the reflective surfaces and only a tiny window with little natural light apparently takes skill I don’t have. 

Hopefully I got a few good ones.

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I really do love how this bathroom came out and I can’t wait to show you.

But in the meantime there’s been lots happening around here I haven’t told you about.  Since I’m writing this at eleven o’clock at night I’ll just show you a few quick photos.

Here’s what our front yard looks like right now.

 

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Here’s the old, cracked, pool-that-took-up-our-entire-backyard

when it was being drained….

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…and here’s what our back yard looked like last Monday,

on Day One of our pool demolition project.

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Just a little something I forgot to share.

I’ll keep you posted on our latest project

and tell you more about this entire process. I’m finding it fascinating to watch.

 

Happy Monday!

xo

Leslie

 

 

Friday, March 13, 2015

how to feel beautiful and relevant no matter what your age part 1

 

 

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There’s a pivotal scene in the movie Avatar when the character of Jake looks at Neytiri and utters the words,

“I ...see… You...”

Only in the film these three words aren’t referring to ordinary seeing, but are expressing a deeper kind of recognition. “I see you,” means I see the essence of who you are. 

The deepest part of me sees the deepest part of you, and you are so much more than what I initially saw with my physical eyes.

Sometimes movies give us moments that stay with us because they convey something meaningful about real life. Not long after we saw that film my husband said those words to me in the middle of a hectic moment, totally unexpected and most likely when I was without a stitch of make-up. Despite his lightness, he was being serious and in that brief, startled second I saw my best self reflected back to me in the twinkle of his eyes.

It was powerful.

It’s been awhile since I’ve thought about this kind of seeing and what it truly means.

But recently I read THIS thought provoking post by Jennifer, where she shares some honest thoughts about aging and how invisible she’s felt in certain situations.

And I thought it was an important topic that needs to be talked about.

 

a certain kind of seeing

When I hear stories about feeling invisible it makes me think of Heinz Kohut, an American psychoanalyst who developed the concept of mirroring.

Kohut believed the need to have one’s unique specialness “mirrored” back was as vital to one’s development as food or water. And although his version of mirroring is a complex dynamic that surfaces in therapy, it’s also a sensation we can detect when we’re with others.

You probably notice how some people leave you feeling depleted and exhausted, while   there are others --similar to my experience with my husband—in whose presence you feel lighter and more confident. And wonderfully understood.

Looking in someone’s eyes and having our whole self beamed back to us with warm acceptance is a powerful experience when we’re adults, but when we’re children it’s formative.

Our experiences with early mirroring—seeing the wonder of ourselves reflected back to us in our mother’s eyes—become the seeds of our own self image.

And it’s believed that the consistency of this gaze from others –in which our whole self is seen and responded to and not just the parts that others need us to be-- forms the basis of our authentic true self.  (Winnicott)

I tell you this because there’s a difference between being looked at and being seen. 

 

Peeling back the layers

 

Growing older in a youth-worshipping culture, one that bombards us at every turn with digitally altered images of perfect looking women that don’t actually exist, is the opposite of having our best selves mirrored back.

In fact, it’s the kind distorted feedback that can be wounding no matter what our age.

Coming from a background in the eating disorder field means I’ve known a whole lot of young, attractive women over the years-- and I’m here to tell you that physical beauty and self esteem do not come together in a package.

Having a young, wrinkle-free face does not guarantee a depth of self confidence or a strong sense of self. And believe me, women with tight abs and a toned neck still struggle painfully with not feeling good enough.

As a twenty-nine year old bulimic once told me when she was asking my help in pleading her case to the insurance company.

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“Leslie you have to tell them. I’ve weighed 96 pounds and I’ve weighed 130 pounds and it never changes how I feel inside. This isn’t about how I look. Tell them this. Please.”

I still remember hearing her sum it up like that. The number on the scale part, the finally getting there and realizing there is no automatic flip switch for our deep-seated self esteem. Sigh. And I wish I could say that her insight led her to immediate wellness, but intellectual knowledge does not mean emotional learning and that’s what’s needed for real changes to happen inside us.

I guess I’m telling you this because it’s easy for a 40 or 50 or 60 plus year old woman who is struggling with the lines on her face, to assume that the remedy for these feelings is simply to have her young, pretty face back.

 

beneath the surface

But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize from my own experience as a woman--- that whatever your age is, feeling beautiful and relevant ultimately happens beneath the surface.

I’m learning that aging can be a process of peeling away the layers to our deeper self; it takes us along a path that is a continual lesson on letting go.

Aging is the wise teacher that keeps reminding us that everything is always changing. Our kids leave home. Our parents become frail. Our family dog dies. Our jobs change and neighbors move away.

And yes, what we see in the mirror keeps changing.

Growing older shines a light on where we get our feelings of worth and value and particularly for women, aging exposes how much our identity has been silently invested in looking a certain way.

Any of these can be experienced as little ruptures in our lives, transitions that can jolt us. Suddenly we find ourselves re-examining the parts of our lives that once felt rock solid. Roles that gave us our sense of identity have changed, maybe they’re gone. Leaving us with questions we haven’t had to answer in a long time.

Who are we when we aren’t being someone’s wife or daughter or mother?

Graceful aging requires honesty. Grieve whatever feels like loss. If something was once there and now it’s not, that’s loss. And it’s natural to feel many things, sadness, vulnerability, even anger. Allowing ourselves to know our shadowy feelings is the way that we grow beyond them.

The Buddha tells us that it’s not the letting go that brings us suffering, but the clinging. The trying to hold on, the clutching and denying of life’s truth which is that, nothing stays the same.

This is the path of graceful aging and the way we remain beautiful and relevant; this how we take ownership of our lives and discover our next adventure.

We let go. We deal with the feelings. And then we look forward.

We understand that there’s a certain wisdom and perspective that can only come with age. And we own it.

 

 

 

forget

 

 

 

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Sharon Stone on deciding how she wanted to age

 

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Rosamund Pike on how it felt to be an older woman 

 

 

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Can you relate to this post?

I always tell everyone I have the best readers. So damn smart and insightful. And I always love to hear your thoughts.

If you agree this is a topic that matters, please share this post so we can keep the conversation going.

I’ll be back with Part 2 when I talk about three choices that matter.

 

happy weekend!

xo

Leslie

aka Gwen Moss

 

 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

my bathroom update-BM Coventry Gray walls

 

 

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today’s inspiration photo

Hello friends.

Before I start I have to apologize for the dark photos today, it’s all I have and I wanted to give you an update.

 

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Because today was hump day for our bathroom remodel.

So far the shower’s finished and I’m so happy with it.

I’m loving all the white subway tiles with the charcoal gray grout. Funny how I didn’t give the dark grout a second thought. But when it comes to bathrooms I have too many memories of scrubbing yucky white grout in the shower

…so this choice was a no-brainer.

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The frame-less shower door will be installed on Saturday which makes me sad.

I really want to keep staring at my new shower floor.

(Can anyone tell me if it’s a sign of old age when your heart skips a beat

at the sight of newly installed marble?)

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Anyway--today there’s more action happening.

All the white paneling, baseboards and trim are going up and if you remember, I’m having the paneling installed horizontally to mimic planks (like that inspiration photo).

Here’s the first sheet going up. 

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Last night before bed it occurred to me that I still wasn’t 100% sure about my paint color so at 11:00 at night--instead of my PJs, I put on my painting t-shirt and pants and opened a can of my latest color crush---BM’s Coventry Gray and started rolling it on the wall. 

(ha--how to you like my carefully thought-out decorating plan? )

oh well. here’s the first look at the paint color—looking way more dark in this light.

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Last night

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Today

Because the mirror is already trimmed in white I decided to have the casing butt into the mirror. 

 

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Here’s a close-up of that detail.

(I can’t wait to see the wood work when it’s all painted white)

 

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Before: dark tile and left over cabinet

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blank slate

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bead board installed-shower done-flooring done-

painting in progress

 

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Night-time painting with a glass of Cab,

have you tried it?

it’s actually very therapeutic.

So here I am. But without the chandelier and sconces installed yet, I don’t know the actual shade of gray I’ll have in here…so stay tuned.

I still might go lighter.

So tell me. What’s your favorite shade of gray?

xo

Leslie

 

 

I’m linking this post with Savvy Southern Style

 (more bathroom decisions HERE)

 

 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

a room with a vintage soul: my office update

 

 

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Hello friends.

It’s been awhile since I posted on the progress of my office

but actually there’s a good reason

First of all, the big lesson I keep learning with fixer uppers is that everything always takes longer than you think. Always.

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And believe me once you accept this little fact it get’s easier.

(Sort of. Yoga helps)

The second reason this room has taken so long is ME.

I’ve realized I can only go so fast because I prefer to decorate with collected items. And although I really admire those of you who can go on a shopping binge and find everything at once, …that doesn’t seem to work for me.

 

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I like to ‘feel’ my way through the process, and unfortunately that means waiting until I stumble on that certain item or idea that will fit my vision for the space.

Can you relate?

 

Previous Owners: Before

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After:

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(the base boards are scheduled for next week)

 

So here I am, finally with an update on my office.

And I have to say, so far it’s become My Happy Place in our new home, full of sentimental touches that make me feel so grateful.

Black or White? 

Here’s my answer.

As a lot of you already guessed, I went with white all the way.

The walls and the bead board wallpaper are painted with BM’s Simply White.

The bookshelves are painted BM’s Brilliant White left-over from another room—and the floors are painted with white porch paint.

 

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I honestly feel like the bookshelves that Dad made HERE set the tone for this whole space.

When I’m in here I’m surrounded by all my funny-joyful memories of their recent visit. And I love how my beloved books span the entire wall.

Choosing between black and white bookshelves was made easier because I lived with this wall painted black for a while; it confirmed that even though I love the dramatic, chic look of black bookshelves in this little space all that black felt too overpowering to me.

Isn’t color selection a fascinating experience?

I find it so intuitive.

How do you pick a paint color?

 

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Before: Previous Owner’s Closet

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After: My Closet

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Can you see my TV?

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And ta-daaaaa …

here’s the barn door that I made with my Dad

It’s hung with black iron hardware and I love the rustic vibe it gives to this feminine room.

Look closely. You would never know those are fake planks in the center would you?

 

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Painting the inside of the closet was a perfect way to get my dose of black in the room plus it’s a cool backdrop for the vintage globes and my TV.

 

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BEFORE: Empty Wall

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AFTER: A wall of bookshelves

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Practically everything in here has been recycled or found in a thrift store. Remember this desk?  I originally painted it a deep blue for Michael’s college room with his soccer number on it.

You won’t recognize it if you go HERE to see it.

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A few collected oils hang next to Michael’s art assignment. A pencil drawing of a pumpkin that he wanted to throw away. Kids.

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This precious valentine framed from thirty-three years ago

adds to the feeling of tender memories in here.

I had just broken up with a boyfriend (i.e. no Valentine) when Papa gave me this carefully typed little paper and I was so touched.

“…the heart does not forget such things

I know this especially.

Because my heart is filled with thoughts

of all the things you’ve done for me.”

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  • The clock that sat in my pink and red little-girl-bedroom and served as my night light for years.
  • A photo of my Mom when she was on one of her first ‘dates’ with my Dad,
  • A hook with the Rosary that my Grandfather prayed on hangs with my hubby’s rosary from his childhood.
  • Pressed flowers I found decades ago in a thrift store. Two framed and dated May 19 1938. There’s neat handwriting by someone I find totally mysterious recording their romantic outing on a Spring day

(at least that’s my version, wink)

 

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And I leave you with one last photo.

This one actually made me wince:

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Can you guess why?

Because it clearly shows the lack of a baseboard. Then I realized my cell phone’s on the desk too but not in a stylish way. And opps! There’s the remote for the TV.

And even though I liked this picture because the sun was going down and the roses appear lit, I thought about deleting it. Or photo-shopping the bottom out.

But then I remembered a line I’d read HERE about perfection.

How perfection is a synonym for stagnant, how it’s a mirage because it’s not real life.

We bloggers know that better than most because we style and shoot lots of pretty photos.

So this time I decided to leave my ugly base-board missing wall in the picture because I figured that any place or person with a true vintage soul should  be comfortable with lots of flaws.

What do you think?

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thank you for visiting today

you’re such a cute little blessing.

 

xo

Leslie

 

I’m sharing this post at French Country Cottage, & Share your Style

 

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