Monday Mood: Wake up

Satisfaction and fulfillment are essential to living your best life. You can be satisfied when you meet your own expectations. You cannot please everyone and there will always be someone who is happy with a lot less than what you have.

Words from a wise woman

Being satisfied with what we already have is a magical golden key to being alive in a full, unrestricted, and inspired way.

One of the major obstacles to what is traditionally called enlightenment is resentment, feeling cheated, holding a grudge about who you are, where you are, what you are. This is why we talk so much about making friends with ourselves, because, for some reason or other, we don’t feel that kind of satisfaction in a full and complete way.

Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have. Our wisdom is all mixed up with what we call our neurosis. Our brilliance, our juiciness, our spiciness, is all mixed up with our craziness and our confusion, and therefore it doesn’t do any good to try to get rid of our so-called negative aspects, because in that process we also get rid of our basic wonderfulness.

We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves.

– Pema Chodron        

 
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Decked out for Summer

June 21st – the official first day of SUMMER

Formal date aside, this year summer started more than a month earlier than expected. It’s been mostly warm and sunny since I got back to Vancouver in early May.  June is usually an iffy month for unreliable weather.  Now you never know what to expect as normal patterns everywhere are changing.  Some drastically. Most people are starting to get used to diverse changes in climate but I’m not here to talk about climate change.  It’s real and it’s happening and we all have to weather the storm (pun intended) and hope we’re not too late to save this stressed-out planet.  

Personally, if I could control the weather by a push of a button I’d have it on perpetual early Spring mode with a rain shower here and there just to break up the monotony and to make sure everything stays green.  Then I’d have it snow in the city for 3 days a year max – December 24th to the 26th.  Also, the setting for sun would never feel too hot with “0” humidity and not enough wind to throw too many dried leaves everywhere which is a pain to sweep up…again.  But sweep up I must.  And every time I do, I admire the brand new flooring on my two outdoor spaces.  I did some Spring cleaning to be Summer ready.  Starting with…

I had a vision. It came from a magazine entitled “Home and Garden.’  I prefer the clean, elegant yet simple and straight wider floor boards.

Upstairs:

Noticing that some of the wood boards were starting to rot on the upstairs deck,

My deck AFTER.  The large planter used to be right smack in the middle.  A large barbeque and outdoor fridge sit in two corners (not shown).
BEFORE the wood was narrower, lighter and on an angle.

I enlisted the services (after careful consideration) of  Khatsalano Builders who specialize in outdoor decks and patios. I like that they’re local. They were professional, managed everything on schedule as planned (contractors are notorious for not sticking to schedule) and cleaned everything up as promised.  They also helped with added extras like moving two very heavy large items for me.  Thank you Jason, Jeff, Antoine, Davin and Mike.  Great guys.

 They totally re-constructed a large 500 sq. ft. deck pulling up all the wood and replacing it with timber-tech composite flooring. It looks great now, very clean, modern and best of all…bye bye maintenance!  No staining needed from now on.  I’m super happy about that.

Why composite over wood? For sustainability purposes Timber Tech decking is made from a combination of 100% recyclable wood fibers and 73% polymers.  Even their packing materials meet the sustainable forestry Initiative requirements. They’re working to achieve the highest level of recycling in the decking industry with a goal to make 95% of all TimberTech decking from recycled materials by 2020.  Almost there.

Talk about saving trees? Over the past six years, more than one million trees have been saved because people have chosen this type of decking over natural wood. And they’ve specifically designed products to look just like exotic hardwoods like Ipe which is cut from rainforests.

Narrowing down choices to closely match wood grain of door.

Downstairs

Wood in the process of being oiled. You can really see the difference in color and grain once it’s sealed.

For the downstairs courtyard which has French doors opening up to the outside from the main living area, I considered a clean-up only.  A sanding and staining.  That was until one of the contractors stepped onto the middle of the courtyard and his shoe went right through the wood.  He didn’t intend to make a hole but let’s just say it didn’t look good after that.

 So… decided to replace the previous wood with new wood.  I really wanted wood for downstairs with the realization that every 3-5 years it will most likely have to be re-oiled.  So…sorry trees. At a little over 300 sq. ft. it’s not a large area but wow…does it ever look amazing. They did some leveling, sealed up some areas which were bare and added two lights to light the way towards  a step-up dining area.

Finished product

After narrowing down from a few samples I chose an exotic hardwood called Red Balau from tropical hardwood forests in Indonesia which are essentially public lands, managed and protected by the Government of Indonesia.

The rich reddish-brown hue is a durable hardwood that is often compared to teak but less expensive. My concern is that it be resistant to shrinkage, splintering, extreme weather conditions, decay, mold and insect attacks (you know; should that ever happen).  Better to be safe than sorry. It is. I’m very happy with the whole aesthetic of both the upper and lower spaces.

BEFORE with a wood sample from Brazil I ended up not choosing.
It is Jia Jia approved

Khatsalano Builders Website:  http://khatsahlanobuilders.com/ 

Other considerations:

I also highly recommend VanCity Washing for eco-friendly exterior power washing and cleaning.  They made my awnings look like new again.  Of course they couldn’t do anything about the fading but I had totally forgotten that my awnings had stripes until they were finished cleaning them.  Fast, friendly, efficient and cost-effective.  Justin also power washed my outdoor furniture. They use all bio-degradable supplies when pressure washing everything from walkways to windows and everything in between.

Van City Washing Website:   https://vancitywashing.ca/

Hedge Trimming and leaf blowing was from a company called Higher Ground Gardens. I had to book them a year in advance but now that I’m aware of how it works I’m booked for next year.

Hedges + Gardening:   https://highergroundgardens.com/

Lazy Layla…just because I wanted to share a recent photo.

Well that’s my Spring cleaning story.  I’m ready for Summer.  How about you?

SAMURAW; you complete me

First off, I’m not a vitamin fanatic.

I have a fairly clean vitamin protocol and don’t go overboard with what I believe is not necessary.  I like to simplify my life with not having too many bottles of vitamins (many of which I end up forgetting to take) take up too much of my sought after shelf space. However, I do believe in adding some indispensables because it’s almost impossible to eat a complete balanced daily diet.   Even if you think you are; you are not.

Which brings me to my latest addiction…SAMURAW organic complete. It’s easy because all you have to do is add one scoop to pretty much anything.  It has no taste therefore it doesn’t compete with anything else you drink such as juice or smoothies.  It’s almost impossible to believe how many vitamins/minerals  is in one little scoop. I’m proud of my brother Brad King for having formulated this product.

It was first formulated with children in mind because it’s so hard to get them to take anything.  So now there’s an adult version thankfully for us adults who never grow up and I’m really happy about that.  Just had to share the wealth of wellness.

And if that’s not enough, here’s another testimonial from none other that Dr. John Gray; Author of the famous best selling book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zft5kR5zgXE

Website:  https://www.samuraw.com/

 

Feel-good Friday: Puttin on the Ritz

If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to
Why don’t you go where fashion sits?

Photo: d. king

Recently I went to the Ritz Rancho Mirage for a cocktail.  Making a right turn on Frank Sinatra Drive, winding my way up the hill to the clifftop setting overlooking Coachella Valley It was easy to see why this iconic luxury hotel was inspired by the desert. It’s actually in the desert. the scenery was certainly incomparable.

Photo: d. king

The Ritz has always had an opulent and stylish past. The one in Montreal is special to me. Being from Montreal I remember many summer brunches in the restaurant garden at the Ritz watching the ducks and swans in the pond swim by.  It’s where my best friend’s wedding took place and I was a bridesmaid, and my husband and I spent a couple nights celebrating an anniversary there.  Something else you many or may not know…dating back to 1912, this was the first Ritz-Carlton hotel and is where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton wed in the Royal Suite in 1964.

Photo: d. king

I visited the Hôtel Ritz Paris didn’t get past the bar where the hotel’s rooms and suites bear the names of Coco Chanel, F. Scott Fitzgerald or Marcel Proust – all of whom considered the Ritz “a second home”.  But getting back to the bar…Cole Porter was said to spend up to 9 hours a day in the Hemingway Bar: he’s said to have composed “Begin the Beguine” there. F. Scott Fitzgerald had his favorite seat; Ernest Hemingway and Gary Cooper made it the epicenter of their life in Paris and would sit and talk for hours.  There’s no question it has a glamorous past.

Different types who wear a day coat, pants with stripes
And cutaway coat, perfect fits

Dressed up like a million dollar trooper
Tryin’ hard to look like Gary Cooper

Come, let’s mix where Rockefellers walk with sticks
Or umbrellas in their mitts

Photo: d. king

The Edge Steakhouse – the Daily Meal

Have you seen the well-to-do?
Up and down Park Avenue
On that famous thoroughfare
With their noses in the air
High hats and arrow collars
White spats and lots of dollars
Spending every dime for a wonderful time

Ritz-Carlton Residences

David A. Lee Photography

If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go Why don’t you go where fashion sits?

Puttin’ On the Ritz lyrics – written by Irving Berlin.

The title derives from the slang expression “to put on the Ritz”, meaning to dress very fashionably. The expression was inspired by the Ritz Hotel.  It was also a musical in 1930.

A bit of history with a healthy dose of glamour – why not?

Photo: d. king “The SWEET Life”

 

It’s SWEET!

Happy Weekend!

 

 

Tammy’s Wall Art

I’m inspired by other people’s choices of home décor including artwork.  Art tells a lot about a persons personality.

Artist: Michael Poitier from Montreal

My friend Tammy (who obviously has a penchant for champagne, dogs & Palm Springs) has invited me over for several really scrumptious dinners including the one where I first met Daniel (the artist) and his partner Karl.  In fact, this dynamic duo was responsible for re-designing Tammy and her husband David’s beautiful condo which is also situated on the same golf course.  There’s something tranquil about facing a golf course.  Tammy and David reside in Palm Springs for the winter preferring to escape the rainy (and now snowy) Vancouver landscape.

For this post I wanted to feature some of their artwork

by Gary Dorothy; Imageville Gallery  (this is in their hallway)

Will Alistair in the living room.

Pamela Masik original.  If you look closely you can find images of people + animals.

Artist: Connie Townsend

Artish: Connie Townsend.  Bichon pets Timbit & Lily Bella in a car that used to belong to Tammy. fyi: they weren’t really driving.

Tracy Verdugo

How about you? Are you inspired by other people’s artwork?

 

 

Feel-good Friday:  Spaces & Places

Here in Palm Springs

Photos: d. king

There’s no lack of decadent little hidden gems that I’ve encountered tucked behind the hedges of unassuming boutique hotels, alleyways and restaurants. I’ve discovered so many attractive spots since the last time I was here.  These photos were taken from a narrow corridor at the”La Plaza” shopping centre which used to house workers and now instead, a handful of quaint little shops.

I’ve discovered some secret bars inside of a few restaurants that I’ve been to and didn’t  know about until someone in the know showed me….very inconspicuous. One is hidden behind a phone booth (really!) and the other behind an ordinary curtain.  I love that!

I’m spending time scouting cool locations for my Destinations page.  And let me tell you what a pleasure it is to do so.  It’s a pleasure! I’ll share them with you soon.

Getting back to Film Fest:  Since my last post I’ve viewed two foreign films.  “Everybody Knows” (Todos los Saben) shot in Spain with Penelope Cruz and her sexy real life husband Javier Bardem centering around a kidnapping at a family wedding and Israeli film “Working Woman” about a married woman with children who takes a  job selling high end real estate, only to encounter a “me too” experience when her boss tries to sexually abuse her in the workplace.   Both films were extremely well done.

After my hike tomorrow I’m looking forward to an independent film which centers around gambling, two documentaries from Mr. Rogers to Aretha Franklin on Saturday – (could they be more opposite?) and a Hollywood ending on Sunday.  I’ll be reviewing these throughout the week.

Have a Happy Weekend

 

 

 

 

 

Moving forward as another year comes to a close…

Reflections on what 2018 taught me

About Staying Strong: while I lean towards improving overall bodily strength in the new year, 2018 was mostly about building inner strength.  Inner strength will help get you through tough times and give you the courage to move forward.  That, plus a good glass of wine and a hearty laugh.  Speaking of;

My witty friend Michael has this to say about humour: humour is like a tickle with a pitchfork.   The purpose of using humour is about expressing aggression, fear, taboo desires and life’s absurdities in an engaging and entertaining way.

About Feeling it Fully – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Learning to embrace it all whatever that may be.  Staying open. Learning to accept whatever life throws my way has been a happy, hurtful, grateful, sad, sometimes infuriating, overall empowering learning experience.

I like this excerpt from Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chödrön:

You build inner strength through embracing the totality of your experience, both the delightful parts and the difficult parts. Embracing the totality of your experience is one definition of having loving-kindness for yourself.

About Relationships: when you spend more time analyzing a relationship than enjoying it – something is wrong.  But you know what? – maybe we should try to analyze what’s wrong.  Because maybe we can resolve it; or not! If it’s worthwhile it will be resolved. In the meantime….respect is essential and enjoyment is key.  As Oscar Wilde once said:

Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.

About Good Girlfriends: always keep your girlfriends close – they are a gift.  They’re the ones who know you, know what’s good for you and how to make you laugh. A good friend will always stab you in the front. ― Oscar Wilde

About Dogs.  No matter what, they never change.  They love you for all that you are and all you’re not.  I aspire to be the person my dogs think I am.

About Life: it’s pretty simple actually….if you keep it simple.  Confucius said: Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated. 

About making a leap:

Most importantly of all, there’s hope, perhaps the most powerful force in life.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday!

Website:  https://www.ihg.com/evenhotels/hotels/us/en/reservation

 

 

Style of Summer

What makes Summer so special besides sunshine, picnics at the beach & BBQ?

A beautiful white lace cover up which can go everywhere and looks super chic on everyone.  The pom-pom detail all along the front is kinda special and fun.

 

 

A chic straw bag.  This black and white is timeless and roomy enough to carry all essentials.  Very St. Tropez.  Bonus: it’s also collapsable which makes it a perfect travel companion.

 

Little Extras:  Playful and Glamorous fringe earrings.  A multi-purpose beach, picnic, pool blanket – a travel must have.  Something you can roll up in your beach bag for a quick getaway.

 

All in the Rachel Zoe Summer Box of Style.  Once again; it’s always fresh, fashionable and never disappointing.

You can order yours here:

https://www.boxofstyle.com/

Images: from website