Thinking Inside The Box

Ya know the old adage, “Hear it three times, pay attention?” Well, last week, three different encounters reminded me of an old ritual I learned years ago: If you have a worry to let go of, dream to manifest or intention to hold, simply write it on a piece of paper and place it in a container of your choosing.

My ritual was born one summer on Cape Cod, when I bought a bowl and took to using it to place all the little sheets of paper that held my worries, dreams and intentions.

prayer bowl

Then last week, I told my friend, Judith, about something that happened to my daughter. She suggested writing it down and keeping a “Mom Box” for all the little hurts I feel leveled at my child, as a way of acknowledging them, but letting them go. Great idea and reminder! Why not choose another box, I thought. So, I chose to use this box as my “Mom Box”,  given to me by my friend Susan, who happens to see the blessing in almost everything. (She also says that wearing a scarf every day pulls your outfit and spirit together – but I digress).


Then on Facebook or Pinterest (I apologize but I can’t remember who to credit), I saw another container idea. This one said, ” This January, why not start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. Then, on next New Years Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year!”

Thankful Jar 1[5]

I love all of these ideas, for it takes what’s on your mind or in your heart and puts it out there. That’ s how we “Let Go and Let G-d” as Ellen likes to say.

So this season, no matter the container or theme you choose, may all your scraps of paper find their way to a MindFULL place.

What kind of MindFULL containers can you suggest? Let us know!

Life and Summer’s MindFULL Music

If there was a song that summed up who you are, or reflected where you are at this point in time, what would it be?

The song for my life thus far would be Carol King’s Tapestry.

I was inspired to think about this after watching my daughter use music to reflect on her 10 years of learning in school thus far. Called a Portfolio Defense, the kids show their work and talk about what they’ve gained, academically and personally.

She set her Defense to a musical soundtrack, and the overarching song was Green Day’s Good Riddance – Time of Your Life (the title makes the song sound negative, but it isn’t. It’s actually very sweet). She chose a different song to reflect each year. Then, when she graduated, the teacher who spoke of her used the same theme and dug deeper into the lyrics from her Life Tracks. He talked of who she was, what she contributed and how music reflected her life and love. It was touching.

That’s what music does. It touches our memory, stirs our present and creates a backdrop of something greater than we are.

I try and make a cd of new music for every season. I look to friends, movies, magazine lists and iTune trials for inspiration. In the March issue of Vanity Fair (  they list several movies and songs from their soundtracks. I thought I’d share a few that sounded good to me:

New York New York   Carey Mulligan

My Week With Marilyn Soundtrack

Memories Are Made of This   Dean Martin

We Bought  A Zoo Soundtrack

The Help Soundtrack

Pusher Man   Curtis Mayfield

Check out the issue. There are so many more they list. Maybe you’ll find something that you speaks to you. Then turn up the volume on your life and Let The Good Times Roll!

What songs will you compile to set a MindFULL Summer playlist? Let us know!

MindFULL Memorial Day

Today’s MindFULL Monday is also Memorial Day. I love Memorial Day. It’s a day to consciously remember people  – some have sacrificed for our country and others are simply wonderful people I have had the honor of meeting along the way.

Thoughts of these folks float across my mind, as this long weekend has us doing things around the house. Some house projects are actually meditative for me. Like spackling the patio and laying broken pieces of pottery and tile between the pavers to add color and whimsy to our back yard. All it takes it a little Quickrete and a lot of patience.

As my daughter moves toward a new chapter, I chose to take a plate she had made years ago and integrate it into the patio design. This way the chapter will always be present as we cross the patio to head out to new frontiers.

Our friends have a twist on this story. I love their kitchen chandelier – it has pieces of collected rocks, family jewelry and colorful stones woven into the fixture. Their memories literally hang over them all the time.

Some memories are like that. We take them and over years, re-set them.

To all in my memory today, I say, “Thank You.”  The pieces of knowing you set between my mental pavers have helped make for a colorful and textured landscape. And to those who are no longer with us, you are will always be set in stone.

 What MindFULL memories can you re-set on this special day? Let us know!

Out With The Old, In With The Old

What do you do with something you inherit, but don’t really want? Either you try and get your sibling to take it or you re-create it into something you love.

Such was with the old dining room furniture that belonged to my grandmother and was deposited in our home when my parents left Denver. My Bobie (Yiddish for grandmother) had lovely furniture. But let’s face it –  it looked like my Bobie’s lovely furniture.

When we moved last Spring and I gave most everything to anyone walking by,  I suggested to my husband that we keep two of the dining room pieces and try and make them into something we could use to keep my Bobie’s spirit alive in our home – she loved people and her dining room was always filled with the sound of family (I have wonderful memories of sitting in her dining room with my cousins and of the smoked whitefish and lox spreads during Connecticut visits).

My intention with my dining room is to create a space that is colorful and comfy (still waiting to get the curtains hung and buffet lights back from the shade maker – final pic to come). We don’t have an eat in kitchen that fits more than 3, so this room takes on a special meaning. It’s where friends will gather and help us make our house a home.

So, imagine my excitement when my talented painter, Matt, stained and burned the china cabinet to reflect a transitional theme. With a new coat of stain, you can see the old wood burnish through. Now we have Bobie’s china displayed and easily accessible. I am sincerely trying to use what I have and if I don’t love it, I am passing it on. It is said that using your good china, wearing your best underwear everyday and drinking good wine if you are going to drink, are ways to add quality to one’s life.

If you have it, use it. If not, lose it.

As I set the table for casual dinner with friends, I will raise one of my Bobie’s crystal goblets filled with Diet Coke and toast the lady who would have encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to with her furniture. She was all about being who she was and dressing with a skip in her step. I think she would have loved the fuchsia inside that brings out the fuchsia in her china. She always added an accessory or color to her outfit.

Here’s to loving what I have. And to those who give me much to love.

How do you MindFULLY use what you have? Let us know!

Design on a Dime

One of our favorite HGTV shows is Design on a Dime. It shows you the $5,000 version of a room and the $500 version.  I am always seeking ways to create what I see in magazines, shop windows and movies. Stimulating as this creative style can be, it can also border on crazy making. At least that’s how it felt while I was trying to re-create a “tile rug” we had seen in the Denver Design Center for our master bath.

When we bought the house, the Master bath was silly. While not very big, it was also impractical. It had this one green pedestal sink that looked like it landed. The owners tried to convince us it was worth something. And well, you know that saying…

The bathroom also had a toilet in the middle of the wall, hunter green tile and three little glass shelves.

The first thing we did was create space for a water closet and figured out how to fit a double vanity. Then we focused on what it would look like. How could we live with a small space and make it feel fun? On a visit to the Denver Design Center, we fell in love with a “tile rug” concept embedded on the showroom floor and budgeted for a small splurge.

Then reality hit. Did you know that when you like a tile, you wait a few days for them to tell you what it costs? After you scrape yourself off the floor, cause who knew tile could be so expensive, you then wait while they let you know when it will be in stock. (I thought they had it in the back room. Silly me, it was on their showroom floor, wouldn’t it be easy to get?)  The tile rug we liked consisted of three different kinds of tile. After two and a half weeks of back and forth on how much we needed, the cost, etc. we got word that the center tile was “discontinued.” Really? Ya couldn’t have told me that two weeks ago when I asked about it? Not one to take no for an answer, I literally spent a week online trying to find it somewhere else. I was obsessed. I ended up at the same supply vendor that the Design Center was talking to and got the same answer. There were 5 sheets of it in a warehouse in CT. We needed 8.

OK, think…how about if we change the dimensions and use more of the circle surround tile? Great idea! Same scenario. Cost, time, etc only to find that the circle tile was in Turkey and would take 12 weeks to get here, if it was on time. Really? Why not tell me that in the beginning?  We needed it in 4.

So, after I had a Customer Service meltdown (a common reaction throughout this journey), we let it go and set about making our own version. I scoured the web for tile options and landed at the Floor and Décor outlet on line, where I found a circle tile for 1/3 the price of the Turkish circles. We went to Dahl to find a reasonable insert (again 1/3 the price) and the sale section of Capco to find the slate surround (they practically paid me to take it). Same concept as the Designer rug, different execution.

Friday they laid it and we love it! It not only looks good, it feels good and will be a symbol for me everyday – when I look at it, it will remind me of what a little creativity and hard work can produce. We actually ended up creating something that worked even better than what disappointed us earlier.

Now, why don’t they make that concept into a TV show?

 How do you MindFULLY find ways to Design on a Dime? Let us know?


I Love TED.

I know, my husband’s name is Ken. So who is TED? (And no, TED is not my contractor!)  According to their website: TED  a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

I love TED. On days when I feel like a vanilla wafer, I can jump on the site and give my bland, dull spirit a jolt of inspiration. It feeds my curiosity, broadens my horizons and allows me to have something to say when I’m called upon to be in the world and stand up straight.

You can watch their videos; attend their talks in your city or down load a podcast. I listened to 3 of them on the flight home Thursday night. One took courage. It was a talk by Ric Elias: 3 Things I Learned While My Plane Was Crashing. As we bumped through the storms ravaging the mid-west, what better time was there?

You can learn just about anything with TED – Technology, Entertainment, Design, Business, Global issues, etc. It’s all on You don’t have to go anywhere, do anything, take any tests. All you have to do is sit back and absorb.

There’s a whole world out there. It’s easy to forget. TED lets you  open up your world. Try it and watch how large it gets. And then,  watch your heart follow.


How do you MindFULLY learn new things? Let us know!

One New Idea

Just this week, I had no fewer than 7 conversations with fantastic, “successful”, interesting, delightful  people who are bored with their lives. If there was one big bed everyone could crawl into, they’d put on their pj’s and scoot under the covers.

But alas, there isn’t. We have to get up. We get to get up! We are lucky we have the luxury to ponder “what Next?” And therefore, I say, “Come on, gang, we can do it. Let’s get up and get dreaming!”

“How?” You might ask. “I don’t know…”  However, what I do know is that there are some paths to figuring out what you’d like to do and hopefully, they can lead you to “Next”.

One of those paths is through journaling. Not writing words in a book, blah, blah, blah, but writing, creating, gluing, drawing and thinking as your hands move. No censoring. No self badgering as to whether you are an artist. That’s besides the point.

And that is why Judith Cohen-Mamet and her YouTube tutorials are a gem. Judith shows you how to journal and add some fun techniques to a traditionally dry process. Below is a link to the first of a series of video tutorials for mixed media journal techniques. After the video, check out the additional helpful hints found on her blog (

In addition to using Judith’s  techniques, consider using colorful crayons to scribble your dreams. Better yet, MAKE the crayons. I saw this technique on a friend’s Facebook page and thought it was so different. And how do you break the boredom cycle? BY DOING ONE SIMPLE THING IN A DIFFERENT WAY. One thing. Try it!

– soak the crayons in warm water (the wrappers come off much more easily this way)
– break into smallish pieces
– spray the baking pan with oil for easy remove.

– put in the oven at 250 degrees for 10 minutes
– they’ll be pure liquid when you take them out, but they’ll cool in another 10 minutes and viola, you’re done!

FYI – my friend’s friend got the pan at Crate & Barrel (it’s a whoopie pie pan 🙂

So, this week, try doing one thing differently, rip out one article from a magazine or newspaper that interests you or consider taking one class on a topic you’d like to learn more about. Just ponder one new idea. You don’t have to marry anything. Just explore it. You never know where it might lead. Certainly, it will add to “Next”!

What did you MindFULLY find to add to your “Next”? Let us know!


New Uses

In the spirit of looking for new uses for old things, I bring you a link to Real Simple magazine. I love this magazine and always find something to rip from the pages.

Since I am away this week, I’ll let the folks at Real Simple do the talking. They have 50 things to say. I hope one of them resonates for you!

What have you MindFULLY learned to that you can add to Real Simple’s list? Let us know!

Game On

While I usually post on Mondays (check in tomorrow for how you can make a difference this week), I had to pop this off to you today. Last week, I wrote about re-purposing clothes (and life). I figured with all  the football games on today, some of you may be looking for something to do with your hands while you watch.

One of my favorite creative musends (a friend who is also a muse), Colette, sent this picture to share with you on the sweater she made for herself (she is the friend who helped me make my sweater and skirt that I showed you last week.) Check out what she did for herself. This was a turtle neck cut “A Symetrical” with a button added. How cute is that!

So, today make it a game to look around and see if anything in your closet could become a new favorite by cutting it up , sewing it differently and adding a little something extra (buttons, felt, ribbons). Not only will you be watching to see who wins a spot at the SuperBowl, you’ll be a winner, too!

What did you find to MindFULLY re-purpose today? Let us know!


OK friends…as promised, the much awaited One Dish Wonder! “Ellys”, as my daughter calls them, are in the oven. They can be in yours too, in less than 30 minutes. Simply follow the recipe and steps below. Measurements are not exact, but you can feel your way through them. Promise. Enjoy!

You’ll need:

2 packages of LARGE and flaky crescent roll dough (It takes two triangles per person, to make one Elly).

Enough ground beef or turkey or Boca meatless crumbles to feed your family ( I use 1/2 lb of meat for for two of us or one bag of crumbles for all three)

Whatever veggies are in the fridge – chopped fine ( I usually have broccoli)

1 envelope of onion soup mix

Dijon mustard

In a skillet, cook meat, veggies  and 1 envelope of onion soup mix.

Lay two triangles of dough side by side and shmoo them (aka “pinch the slits together) together to make a rectangle.

Shmear mustard on one end.

Place a few big scoops of meat mix on mustard.

Bring end of crescent dough up and over meat mix and pinch the sides to seal it all in (like a big full puffy square).

Bake at 375* until golden brown (about 15 minutes)

What MindFULLY delicious recipe makes your life easier? Let us know!