Thursday, August 30, 2012

Forging a Wiser Path

Photo Courtesy of Babble

By happenstance, propensity for self-improvement and understanding my matriarchal role in my little nucleus, I have been guided to an impressive periodical called Pathways that I picked up at my Chiropractor's house—I mean, office.

Between the chickens running in the hilly, green, yard, and the terrific alignments I have received, there lies much more knowledge on their property than meets the traffic-glazed eye. Here is where I was introduced to a magazine that felt like a cheerleader I heard in the distant sidelines—the one you need to hear when there's chaos in the play-by-play on the field.

Relying on a diet rich in information from educationally decorated sources, rather than rich on advertisements (as so many baby/child/family/health/lifestyle magazines are any more), Pathways stands out as a source of quiet heroism for the reader who is looking for something more enriching to help them in designing the life they want to live: a life with depth, gratitude, and awareness for what they feel rather than what others tell them to feel.

As an interior designer, I like to design spaces with personality and self-reflection in mind. Affordable, "green," authentic, and approachable are the spaces (and the people) that appeal to me the most. It's nice for a room to reflect what's going on inside the homeowner and I think congruently, some internal re-design is worth its weight in gold!

Pathways is something I wanted to suggest as a tip for a little "INterior design."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I'm Very Thirsty This Thursday:

*While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings.
-Henry David Thoreau

*Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You'll find what you need to furnish it - memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.
-Tad Williams

*By three methods we may learn wisom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is bitterest.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

File Under "Radaroni"

I just completed a combo dining/office space for some 
cool new clients. 
This husband and wife team needed to convert the room 
previously used as an office into a nursery for their new 
son, due in the fall.  
After reviewing their living spaces and gaining a sense of 
who they are through all their great pieces of art, artifacts, 
and collections, it was clear that they have a love for the 
I've dubbed them the "Global-Mid-Century-Traditionalists," 
for all the factors that make their living spaces unique to 

On a budget, as most thirty-somethings are, the existing 
ho-hum filing cabinet needed to be worked into the new 
The functionality of the filer was perfect, but its melamine 
finish was decidedly not.  

So, using spray adhesive and a staple gun, I re-covered the 
fronts and sides with burlap and added a jacquard band at 
the top to conceal the raw edge of the burlap, while 
allowing the top to stay smooth and black. The jacquard 
edge tied-in with the homeowners' rug, too; an intended 
plus. Using adhesive, natural jute twine, and metallic 
gold paint, I also re-covered the cabinet pulls to reflect 
more of the aesthetic already in place. 

Now the cabinet not only serves as a functional "office" 
piece, but as another "dining" service spot. 
Yay, duality!

They loved it, and I love it, too.  
Patting myself on the back for the uber-coolio 
repurpose/recycle factor.

Here's the filing cabinet metamorphosis:

Standard big-box-store-look:

Oh? Yes, this is a drawer front:

These are the issued aluminum handles, pre-coolness:

I covered the top so the spray adhesive wouldn't go where it didn't  belong:


Woven in:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I've Hit My Ceiling

To everyone's surprise, (including my husband and I), I am pregnant again and we are flabbergasted and thrilled about having "Baby Deuce." 

What is less exciting about welcoming our new baby into our home is the ceiling project ahead in said baby-to-be's room. That which is intended to be a bedroom in our 1900 Victorian, but currently serves as our daughter's playroom, will soon need to morph into our new tot's lil lair.  Unfortunately for us, it's not just as simple as painting walls and recycling in our daughter's old crib and ta-da: baby-room.  Nope.  Of course there is a hurdle.  

The only room in our entire home to have a drop ceiling is this one.  It is an issue my husband and I have been avoiding since we moved in here almost 4 years ago.  In a house over one hundred years old, who knows what the hell is under there. It could be more scary than a bevy of pressed and pocked ceiling tiles suspended from industrial metal lath. Perhaps we'll luck out and it's a masquerade of gaudy wallpaper, layer upon layer.

Either way, I'm assuming it's bad. I'm assuming we won't want to rip out the ruined plaster that lies beneath the drop ceiling tiles and I'm guessing I'll be looking for an ingenious fix.  I'm also guessing I'm not the only person with ceiling strifes so I thought it might be nice to share some inspiration on how to turn "lemons in to lemonade"(don't jab me for paying homage to summer with an appropriate lemonade reference).

So, enjoy these DIY's while I consider my options, too:

Thanks, Apartment Therapy, as usual.

House of Smiths: Slap it up, flip it, rub it down, oh no...

Maple Leaves & Sycamore Trees have a nice 'palette.'

Not just a housewife: so many colors and patterns to consider, o! my!

I LooOooove you, Tip Junkie! Let me count the ways...

MossIsAwesome could be toadally awesome-r with some layers of color and metallics!

Our Small Town Idaho Life is really up-ing the ante here.

Anyway, good luck to you out there, and to me! We'll need it...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Productive Plans for the Homey and You

Being that it's Friday and all, usually this is that time of the week when we expressive-types get a good ol' hankering to go out this afternoon and gather our last minute supplies for our weekend creative outlets, DIY projects, and such.
In case you haven't got a project up your proverbial sleeve, I can hook you up!
These are some good ones I've come across lately:

1. Ickish Floors? Nuthin' a lil paint can't cure:
(Apartment Therapy)

2. Kids makin' you crazola with all their books? Hang em' low; Hang em' high:
(Penny Carnival)

3. Tis da freakin' season:

4. Blah Wall? Easy-peasy-wall-jewelry for any frame or shape:

5. Free your dining room table and make a desk already:

This weekend, I think I'm going to opt for the gardening section of things because it's more fun to drink beers outside.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pop Advice

Although my friend, Katie, lives hundreds of miles away from me in a topographical oasis in the Rocky Mountains, she has given me nuggets of parental knowledge from a distance:
One of my favorite pieces of info she gave me is using chamomile for fussy kids.

Now listen people: neither one of us are Naturopaths or anything, so don't take this as certified medical advice, but I hafta say chamomile pills & tea have soothed my daughter through her roughest patches of illness and teething, as well as guided her in to siesta-land despite her defiant demeanor. Katie, who travels via airplane with her kids, prefers to give them chamomile then. Apparently she has gotten lots of compliments from other airplane passengers of how well-behaved her kids are!

Often before bed, my tot loves to drink her warm Sleepytime tea with honey and much delight. Lately, as the weather has changed, so has her interest in the drowsy drink. I guess her sophisticated palette prefers something more seasonally-appropriate than hot tea before night-night time after a warm day.

So my genius hubby had what I think to be a fantastic idea, and any caretaker of any cranky kid may benefit from this idea:
Turn that Sleepytime Tea (or Chamomile tea of choice) into ice pops! What kid doesn't love ice pops?

So easy, too:
Just steep the tea bag(s) as directed, add as much honey as your kid likes, and freeze the brew in a pop mold!
What a treat for your sleepy one (and your sanity) at the end of the day!

My kid loves it and I love the dude of my house for thinking of it!
You can thank me for sharing this cozy-cool remedy after you try it for yourselves.

* [Make sure your child has no allergies to teas or to honey...Check with your pediatrician for advice and age-appropriateness]

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cacophonous Soul

(La Dolce Vita)

I am an urban-small-town-prepster-modern-mid-century-victorain-enthusiast with ultra Virgo tendencies and a hippie-beatnik soul.
If you've been in my house, that much is surely evident.
My style has not only been defined by my past and present but by the vintage of my 1900 house and the amazing scores of furniture I have found on 'big trash day' and in the tri-state area's consignment shoppes.
It is amazing what one can find if you keep your eyes and your brain open.

So channeling my urban renewal-thriftwitch-hippieness: challenge yourself to "upcycle" something given to you, found for a few bucks at Goodwill, or in an alley somewhere! Make it work for your home and your personality. Not only is it theraputic and green but one of a kind, and that makes for a great conversation piece in any living space.

Jusayin. That's what's on m'brain today.
(I think I'm just Jonesing for yardsale season!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


My kid has inspired many things to change or shift in my life.
One of the happier things we have embraced are all things chalkboard.
Chalkboards have stood the test of time for a reason: they morph from a learning tool, to a communication tool, to a good surface to create some fun, education, and imagination.

My daughter's dresser drawers are chalk-labeled to help her find things and associate them with their corresponding spelling! Chalkboards have eased our family communication about whether or not the dishwasher is full of clean (C) or dirty (D) dishes. And our dining room wall is waiting to be crusted with even more chalkboards to welcome guests, celebrate holidays, playing games with friends after wine-filled dinners, and oh yes—educating our 3-year-old!

Chalkboards have been in fashion for eons it seems, and although they have re-emerged as a trend, it is certainly one that will see a lifetime of enjoyment from my household.

Now, I just need to tackle a new project with chalkboard cloth my friend Katy gave me and make that a part of our life...

Maybe there is a kitchen door, mudroom, or car dashboard in your life that could use a little chalk and inspiration!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Not as douche-y as you may think...

My mom called me tonight all irritated at me that I haven't blogged in sometime. And well, I agree that I've been annoyed with that subject too.
"I have things on the back burner to write about," I retorted, "I just haven't been in my office for longer than seven seconds(in order to grab something) in, like, forever."

"Well, make time to write" she said.
She went on, "I'm so sick of looking at that window-cleat-thingy that's been there [as your last blog] forever. Why don't you write about that vinegar solution you told me about? I love it. It makes me so happy."

After discussing the ease and sheer wonderfulness of my all-purpose-household-cleaner with her for a moment, I challenged her by saying that the cleaner (that I use like mad on a daily basis) is "no big deal" and "everybuddy knows about it," and that "anyone can look it up." But after some convincing on her end, here I am, bloggin' about it.

So the backstory is: after I bore a tiny human from my womb over three years ago, I decided to give up yickish, scary cleaners I was fearful of using around my food, my dogs, or more importantly my family.

This kick-ass-cleaning-potion I stumbled upon one day after another random, well-intended link my mother emailed me, can be used on mirrors, glass, inside microwaves and fridges, on patio furniture, awesome on cast iron skillets, shower stalls, grills, eyeglasses, vinyl, any floor, diamond rings, and a myriad of other surfaces and things. It will blow your mind how low on odor it is and how impactful it can be on your life and wallet if you give it a chance.

Here's the 'ingreedeements'(as my mother would say):
white vinegar and water.

I use a plain ol' spray bottle, add about an inch or two of white vinegar and fill the rest up with water. And, if you were unaware, a giganto jug of white vinegar costs about $1.79, and that's the name brand kind. Vinegar as many people know is one of nature's many miracles.

It's not often one comes across a miracle for under two dollars, but now you have.

Thanks, Ma.

***Oh, and if your toddler decides to spray this potion in their face in a fit of tremendous, comedic rage one night, you won't hafta take them to the hospital after, like you would with something off a big-box-shelf. Good to know.***

Friday, January 20, 2012


If you have blinds or shades, then you probably have cords.
For safety's sake, and a tidy appearance I have forgone the chintzy, unattractive cord cleats that come standard with window treatments and have opted for a masculine, nautical friend: the boat cleat.
They are sturdy, inexpensive and unexpected.
Design is in the details, my friends.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Give It Up"

*photo courtesy of

When my friend asked me a few weeks ago to go see a Wu-Tang concert in Philly with her, I immediately said yes with a primordial excitement, as did our other married-with-children-friend whom she had been discussing it with moments before.
Who wouldn't wanna revisit one’s past? We were not about to miss out recapturing one of our youthful pleasures.

But when each of our husbands turned us down on the idea, I think we were a little crushed inside, both by our sadness for not attending the show and for realizing our husbands’ (most likely irrational) fear of the off-chance that their baby-mamas would get caught up in a fight of gel-heads wearing-white-shoes-and-tank-tops-in-winter being possible.

Stereotypically, husbands keep the transmissions in our vehicles running, we wifeys make them dinner. They spark us, we spark them. Either way, any and all solid partnerships are about fueling one another with all the goodness we need to keep going, achieving, growing, learning, living passionately, and yes, keeping smart and safe. Just like children do with their parents, we as adults in partnerships (and even in candid friendships) each have someone to answer to and keep us in line. And people that do not have a partner, or a child, or a vigilant parent or friend they care to answer to often stop answering to themselves. Perhaps, if they are not being the best they can be, they are the ones who have nothing to lose.

As I sit at my desk, next to a photo of me jumping out of an airplane, I can’t help but wonder, when we move from risk-takers to sensible choices, is that the true mark of adulthood? Is real adulthood making the hard, selfless choices to get to the outcome I want rather than proving myself right or vindicated all the time?

After jumping out of an aircraft five times, I can positively say that I would never willingly do it again. But it is the reminder of it on my desk that lets me know what I did at 10,000 feet will always be with me and what I can do on the ground can be equally exhilarating if I just take that proverbial leap in to “adulthood.”

Perhaps the “adult” Cira James, ain’t nuthin’ to F’ with.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

It's Painless.

After being sick the first few days of the new year, and sick of being sick with my many on-going ailments (blah blah blah), I'm weaning off the "pharmies" and going balls-to-the-wall homeopathic. Homeopathy has been a part of my life since my existence (thank you, mom), but never 100%.

So in 2012, I resolve to be aware of what I use to heal myself, and to be sure it is actually healing me and not masking the real issues. I have ran out of options.

In light of this, and rather than going on a long tirade as to what has been ailing me for decades, I have a whopper of a recommendation and an unsolicited endorsement:
Eat to live.
And use The AuraWave.

Yes, The AuraWave. I don't even care that I'm plugging something. It's that awesome.