Words matter, and the right one is priceless. Have written about ’Staging’ (vs ‘preparing’- several times, in fact), but today let’s re-think ‘de-personalize’.
‘What do you know about Home Staging?’ is how I start out my Home Staging classes.
‘De-personalize’ usually come up right away. Asking what that means, the answers come less quickly, are usually self-deprecating (‘No one else will appreciate my fine taste in ___’) or quietly sad (‘No one cares about, or wants to see my family’).
There is nothing constructive or positive about it. It’s sweeping and un-specific, finding fault without offering a solution, and sounds judgemental and arbitrary to the homeowner. YET I know removing personalization is a truth to getting a house noticed and sold. Well, at least a partial truth.
Very personal personalization in a property for sale is never a good idea-it distracts buyers, and can provide buyers with way TMI regarding the sellers and their circumstances, information that could be used against them. BUT-less really is less, and a flat, pale space void of warmth or character isn’t received well, either.
People sell for all sorts of reasons, but in buying-and yes, even in downsizing-there is always the desire for a better place, and hope for happiness. The secret to successful Staging in Westchester County is to attract, touch, and engage buyers in very real ways, in ways they do not expect. The Refreshed Home champions RE-PERSONALIZING a space, here are some ways how:
Clever looks for and demonstrates value:
Has the patio/deck looking good now, and keeps it in shape til the first snow: Patio furniture scrubbed and out, grill ready to go, even buying a fire pit to extend living space.
A desk in the corner of the family room-away from the TV< but near so a parent can multi-task.
Dresses up the garage or basement by cleaning and painting the cement floor
Aspirational points to all the things that could be, in this new house:
Kitchen accouterments that support visions of cooking adventures and healthy eating: specialty/vintage cookbooks, herb plants, colorful legumes in glass canisters
Good books add soul and character; who doesn’t want to be smarter, or yearn for more time to read?
Color-ordered closets with matching hangers: almost magical, a sophisticated, unexpected luxury
Whimsical adds delight. It makes people pause, smile, and feel good.
A live goldfish
A puzzle, or poker game in progress
Really cool-colorful, sexy or fun- toss pillows
Knowing who the buyer will be is the Realtor’s job; knowing how to attract buyers (and other agents!) is mine. Some sellers have a pool of suitable items, but many don’t; accessory shopping, and accessory rental have consistently been the fastest-growing segments of The Refreshed Home’s business. NEXT: Accessories and Home Staging: Creative is the New Sizzle
‘What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate’ does not have such a great context in the movie, but by itself can be a helpful and important observation in business.
Potential clients are often surprised to hear me sayI am in the problem-solving business. OK< sure, I work with a lot of pretty things, but pretty only goes so far. Understanding what is on someone elses’ mind goes a lot farther.
Channeling Steve Jobs, ‘good design is not about how something looks, it’s how it works’. TRH believes a good look endures when it’s solidly rooted in diagnosing, then solving a problem; clear and solid communications is what supports that.
People learn-and communicate-in different ways, usually combinations of talking, listening, watching, thinking and doing. Being aware of, and working within another’s style is a vital component of good communication.
When working with/presenting to a group that means mixing it up, or sometimes repeating the message, but in different styles- so you can forge a solid connection, and build on it. In my Home Staging Workshops, to help de-mystify the process and engage everyone- I utilize a white board to list participants’ questions, an open Q&A format, a slide show and a long table to showcase some of the things I use to prepare a property for sale.
True communication is a two-way street. Strother Martin, as the prison warden, was obvioulsy not interested in communicating’. But then again, he wasn’t putting together something wonderful, lightening a clients’ heart, or making their life easier, either.
Because we’re in February, both Spring Market and Oscar fever are upon us, so famous movie quotes that resonate with Real Estate are a natural.
Made famous by Gloria Swanson’s portrayal of actress Norma Desmond-”I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille” became a punchline, an elbow and a nudge to someone who was taking themselves too seriously, living in the past, breaking from reality, even sounding delusional. That, in itself probably sounds waaay to familiar to agents who’ve seen plenty of that in recent years, but that’s a topic for another time….
The word “Staging”: you know it. You may love it, or you may cringe-but do you know where it came from?
40 years ago, StagedHomes.com Founder and President Barb Schwarz was a realtor in Washington State. She was trying to get a seller to do some things pre-listing that would put the listing in a better light. Alas, the seller did not see the need.
You know when you ask someone a question, and you get an answer you don’t like, so you ask the question again, in a different way, hoping for a different answer? Well, Barb was on her 3rd, maybe 4th try here. Looking around, she focused on some of the seller’s ’stuff’-namely theater memorabilia. So she took a deep breath, and asked the seller-’well, why don’t we just STAGE it?’
NOW the seller wanted to hear more.
What must have been inspired from above, Barb went on, totally on the fly: “Your house is the star. I’m the director, the critics and the audience are other agents and buyers.” The seller was hooked, and the rest is history!
Good theater-like good Staging-engages, inspires and elevates. It helps us see things in a different light, and we are ultimately better for it. If it’s time to get your Westchester County house sold, have a conversation with TRH first: together, we’ll get it ready for it’s close up!
Analogies help us understand something unfamiliar, by comparing it with something close to us. In this series, we parallel TRH-style of Interior Decorating and Home Staging with some very familiar things. TODAY: Your favorite pair of black jeans.
There is no pretense: Jeans, and TRH are always been about getting things done, comfortably.
A good fit is important to start. And both fit even better as time goes on.
Black jeans (and The Refreshed Home) flatter. They make the most of what you have.
Both are adaptable, and work well in many situations.
Even if you are not a believer, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you, or your loved ones. Each month we take a look at what floats our boats, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to SAGITTARIUS!
Those born under the sign of Sagittarius (November 21-December 20) are pretty easy to spot. Energetic, outgoing and gregarious, you usually know they are in the room. Chatty and direct, they attract and can hold an audience of whatever size they want.
Fun, funny , and totally un-selfconcious, there’s a lot of good things to say about these Archers, one of them is that they are really, really easy to decorate with-and for!
Honest, optimistic and high energy, they speak what is on their mind, and then let go of it. In my experience, there are no hidden agendas, and generally no regrets, they are all about speaking the truth, and moving forward…works really well in professional relationships, but not always in personal ones.
The 5-second time delay was probably inspired by, or invented for a Sagittarius. The are neither mean or unintelligent, but they are so simply about the truth, sometimes they forget the context of a situation, or the feelings of a loved one. OOOPS! Well, no one is perfect, but if you spend any time with an Archer, you will see their goodness outweighs the gaffes. Their heart is pure, and that counts for a lot.
Sagittaurians do not like boundries, or to feel constrained. Because they are about connecting with others, they are attracted to open floor plans, and ‘great’ spaces: Nice size dining rooms, maybe with doors that open to big decks, maybe an outdoor kitchen? CHECK! Kitchens do not have to be ‘gourmet’, as long as they are generously proportioned, have good light, and adequate walk-around space. Finished basements-as long as they are not chopped up, or with low ceilings-work well for them also. .
Two areas of universal appeal: First-there must be room for their pets. Symbolized by half-man, half-horse, rare is the Archer who doesn’t feel a true kinship with most four-legged creatures. Legend has it that Frank Sinatra had his driver stop and pick up an injured dog he saw on the side of the road, while he was on his way to a rehearsal. Everyone had to wait while he found a vet, had the dog tended to, and it’s owners contacted(and yes, anxious readers, the pup was fine!).
And games! Mention games to a Sagittaurian and watch them light up. Whether it’s an innocuous card table for Bridge or family game night, or an elaborate pool table for the man-cave, the stakes are the same-something about green felt makes them very, very happy.
Even if you are not a believer, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you. Each month we take a look at what makes each of our boats float, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to LIBRA!
From the ancient Greek, Libra was a unit of weight (around 12 oz), why the sign of Libra to be represented by a set of scales.
The assumption might be that those born under that sign are operate in an even-keeled, steady and balanced manner. Well, they’d be kind of right…this is what they STRIVE to do.
For Libras, balance is the goal, but it can be an elusive one, mostly by their own doing. If you are decorating with-or for-an October-born person, you have your work cut out for you.
Outwardly they will have a pleasing and agreeable demeanor, but love to debate, to take a contrary view, seemingly just for the heck of it. But often they are debating themselves.
They’re not meaning to be disagreeable, they just see it as a necessary part of their pursuit to be fair and open-minded. So they may appear pleased and content, but BA-ZINGA they will challenge you in a precise and detailed manner.
Although they will argue they are not indecisive (!!), they take a very long time, weighing all the possibilities and options. They run hot and cold, up and down, left and right. And they will push themselves past even their reserve, then need absolute calm and rest to restore their vitality.
Still with me? Good. Here is way to make Libras genuinely happy in their space:
Calming, soothing colors. Monochromatic or analogous colors.
Symmetrical balance, ans soft lighting.
Consider the acoustics: White noise, a small fountain, maybe an aquarium. Thick carpets, and lined draperies to absorb sound.
Soft, polished Egyptian cotton bed sheets, big fluffy pillows and plush bath towels will refresh and revive them.
Books. Yes, and hardcover please! Even the uber early-adapter Libras will prefer ‘real’ books to the electronic ones.
And art. Not for the pedigree, but for the type of image. Abrupt abstracts are a no-as are dogs playing poker…think peaceful landscapes, portraits, or mellow abstracts instead.
Just don’t expect them to make any quick decisions!
161 games over six months, and for 3 teams in the Active Rain Baseball Junkies Fantasy Baseball League, it all comes down to tonight.
The lead has see-sawed back and forth for the last two weeks. This morning when we woke up, Bill Feela’s Minnesota Rain was in first place. My husband Doug-who TORTURED me last year with his ‘advice’- was a point and a half back, while my Good Guys were 4 points back.
But it could be anyone’s win tonight…two of us had bad pitching today, and my team the other one of us is having a decent day of both hitting and pitching (hee-hee).
Regardless of how it all shakes out, it’s been a blast, and I thank all the managers who participated: From Tracy CA, Susan “Team Princess” Golding, and her co-manager Reily; AR’s own Kerrie “Yanks All the Way” Greenlaugh, and Carey NC prodigy Craig “Raleigh Carey Apex” Rutman.
Stanislaus county’s CA finest Jim “Jim’s Team” Patton; from sunny South Brevard county FL Jeff “JD’s Mets”DiMuria; from cold and rainyWestchester county NY Phil “J Train” Faranda. Last but not least, the original founder of the AR Baseball Junkies-the pride of Columbia River Gorge, Mel ‘Tinkers2Ever2Chance” Ahearn…and MEL-one of these days, you’re going to have to explain that team name!
Thank you one and all. It’s been a great season, and I have so enjoyed it.
…and only 135 more days til the start of Spring Training!!
Regular readers know I am a big baseball fan, but I had never heard of MLB umpire Jim Joyce before summer of 2010…then in an unlikely confluence of events, he burst into probably all our consciousnesses.
Doug and I had attended a high school lacrosse game that evening. It was a spirited rivalry, but some fans did not know how to behave…we found ourselves in the middle of an entire section of angry, rowdy, potty-mouth ADULT fans.
Seeing the look on the younger kids faces while they absorbed the verbal spewage from these faux-grownups was such a sad moment.
Flipped on the news before going to bed, only to find out this Jim Joyce made an admitted wrong call on the last play of the game, costing the pitcher a perfect game.
But in baseball there are no do-overs, and the pitcher accepted his tearful apology. I wasmoved to tears at this unbelievable juxtaposition, and wrote passionately about how I hoped these same kids would talk about, and remember this wonderful, gracious role model the next morning.
Jim Joyce and the pitcher, Armando Galarraga went on to become friendly, even writing a book together, called Nobody’s Perfect.
Then, last year the major league players themselves voted Jim Joyce the best umpire in all of Major League Baseball. Forgiveness and redemption is a very powerful thing to witness, so yes, I cried, and wrote more, on how the MLB players got that call right.
Now news comes that Jim Joyce saved a life with CPR. Really.
Last night, Joyce saw an employee of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Jayne Powers having a seizure in the tunnel near their dressing room, about an hour and a half before game time. Even after the defibrillator failed to get her heart going, Joyce kept CPR going until the paramedics arrived, using the Bee Gee’s classic Stayin’ Alive to keep to the necessary rhythm.
Jayne is recovering in a local hospital, in stable condition. And Joyce? He’s probably back behind home plate again tonight, calling balls and strikes.
For a regular guy like Jim Joyce-the story keeps getting better. Good for him, and even better for Jayne Power; but lucky, lucky us-who get to watch, learn and be inspired.
Even if you are not a believer, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you. Each month we take a fun look at what makes each of our boats float, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to LEO!
Ahhh…Leo the Lion…born between July 21 and August 20…one of the easiest signs to spot, I think. A strong sign, a real alpha…but not usually harsh, or mean-spirited. They are just confident…very, very confident.
Leos typically have a natural ability to speak well, and lead. It’s a fair statement that Leos are typically found at the top of whatever circles they are drawn to.
You’ll find many in law (current Supreme Court Justices Kennedy and Breyer) and in politics (4 US Presidents). They are pioneers (Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong, Bella Abzug) and charmers (Tony Bennett and George Hamilton). Successful and generous (Melissa Gates, Malcolm Forbes, Roberto Clemente), at the top performers with staying power (Madonna, Mick Jagger).
They are larger-than-life sports stars (Tom Brady, Walter Payton, NY Knicks Patrick Ewing, Bill Bradley and Wilt Chamberlain)-one reason the future looks bright for current Olympians LoLo Jones and Ryan Lochte. They also don’t do anything on a small scale-film producers/directors Ken Burns, Alfred Hitchcock, Cecile B. DeMille, James Cameron, Dino DiLaurentis.
Intrigue seems to find them-Watergate’s ‘Deep Throat’ William Felt and Mata Hari were both Leos. Sometimes their confidence can turn the corner into arrogance-Napoleon, and accused steroid users Barry Bonds and Roger Clemmens. And yes, art can imitate life, two of Batman’s most notable Catwomen were Leos-Julie Newmar and Halle Berry.
Last-Schwartzkopf and Schwartzenaegger-both Leos…are you starting to get the picture?
Have listed more famous folks here than usual because this is the best illustration of a Leo: they are used to being seen, to being at the top, and their space needs to reflect that.
Many Leos are drawn to impressive, and expansive spaces-sometimes physically elevatedones (Leo the Lion, on his throne!). Farly adapters for the most part, but they wold not sniff disdainfully at say a set of mid 1800′s original Chippendale dining chairs…as long as they were in mint condition, that is! Pedigree is important, for both quality and status.
So is luxury. Re-purposed, funky, eclectic or retro has little place in the life of a Leo, as does most anything ethereal or soft and fuzzy. Like their personality, there is little ambiguity or frothiness. Best colors are clear, deep and strong, au currant, but not garish.
Leos love to entertain, and their homes typically showcase the finest in design and materials. Silk drapes? Ehhh..silk that came from free-rangebutterfly farms, where classical music was played for the cocoons as the silk was being spun? Now you’re talking!The music was live??EVEN BETTER!!
OK< maybe I exaggerate..a little. But budget is a hard topic to discuss with a Leo-they can be extravagant, and who are you-a mere mortal-to offer counsel to Mr./Ms. Leo? Happily, funds are drawn to them almost as much as other people are.
Probably 90% of Leos are meticulously neat and organized, the other 10% not so much-but for both cases, storage and organizational systems will be an integral part of their home.
Years ago , I toured a big Southern plantation house on vacation. The long drive that led up to the house had a line of massive trees-sycamores, I think-on each side. Tall and majestic, their branches touched and intertwined creating a lovely sun-dappled passage, both striking and grand.
Local history says that when the original plantation owner’s daughter got married, he imported many many spiders-from whenever you imported spiders in those days- and set them loose in these trees about a week before the wedding. On the morning of, he had gold dust sprinkled in the trees.
When guest arrived, they saw something quite unlike anything they had ever seen before…the gold dust was suspended in the webs, creating this shimmering canopy, welcoming them to his daughter’s wedding. Safe to say he was a Leo-yes?
Even if you are not a believer, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you. Each month we take a fun look at what makes each of our boats float, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to CANCER!!
While Cancer (6/21-7/20) is represented by the crab, their nickname of Moon Children is more telling. Rooted in the lunar rhythm, and the pull of the tides, Cancer is a true water sign. Like the planet itself- the moods and sensibilities of Moon Children appear to be in constant transition. But because it’s cyclical, and not random, it’s a little easier to understand. Kind of. Sort of.
At first glance, their shifting moods may seem unpredictable..but their unpredictability is well, predictable. If a Cancer in your life rebuffs, dismisses or cuts you off, just know you are seeing the waning of the Moon…give it a little time, they’ll be back.
There is much to like about Cancers. Like the crab, they can have a hardened exterior, but are intensely sensitive at their core-they tend to feel things very deeply. Cancers are passionate people, who generally love to laugh. And I don’t mean they have a good sense of humor (although they often do, and appreciate it in others) but when they laugh, they laugh down to their toes.
The time of Cancer includes Independence Day, and appropriately, Cancers are usually very loyal, and extraordinarily patriotic. Family and home are sacred to them, and their children rate even higher. They tend to be frugal, but money for a typical Moon Child represents safety and security, not status.
Similarly, Cancers are not particularly materialistic, but instead surprisingly sentimental, and in their homes, that translates into a tendency to hang on to EVERYTHING, as well as a suspicion of what is new. Anyone who lives with, loves, and shops with (or decorates for) Cancers know all about how hard it is to convince them to let go of, or replace something. Come to think of it, this Westchester County Home Stager would also have her hands pretty full…!
New-trendy-flashy will rarely be of interest to a Cancer-unless it can be proven to add better comfort to their nest, or provide protection, support or encouragement for their children. or other loved ones. Value-in the form of solid construction techniques, or as an investment will hold their interest. Big bucks for bedsheets for thir kids that came with SPF5o? Perhaps; but they can see right through those hucksters, and their super-duper 24 hour only special holiday promotions.
Last, you want to know that Cancers-like a true crab-will rarely follow any straight lines to get to what they want. One step foreward, two steps to the side, that’s the way it goes. Not expeditious, but isn’t knowing to expect that just as good?
Whether or not you believe in astrology, it’s always fun to check and see what the stars are SUPPOSED to hold for you. ..so each month we take a fun look at what makes each of our boats float, home decor-wise. This month, we wish a Happy Birthday to GEMINI!!
Gemini (5/21-6/20) is represented by twins, and it’s one of the few signs where the style of getting things done is just as important-maybe even more so-then what you are actually doing. You see, very little about a typical Gemini is predictable, or even-paced.
Beyond flexible, they are the original multi-taskers; with them, most everything tends to move, and change at warp-speed. Geminis act-speak-think quickly, and are impatient with those who cannot keep up. They also dislike routine and structure.
Many would argue all this speed, duality and volitility is not always a bad thing. Professional Gemini athletes like tennis powers Venus Williams, Steffi Graf and Lindsey Davenport would testify to that, and be joined by basketball greats Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, Olympic skater Apolo Ohno, and beloved QBs Joes Nameth and Montanna. Anderson Cooper-of TV’s aptly named 360 (Degrees), and famed fool-the-eye artist M.C. Escher would probably agree, as would multi-facted actor Johnny Depp, and comedian/actor/impressionist Mike Myers.
‘Bird-like’ is a description more than a few astrologers use to describe this sign. Intesnse, and in the moment, but easily distracted, and just as quickly, gone, on to the next big thing. And therein lies the real challenge.
They make decisions quickly-which, of course they attribute to their confident nature. But sometimes the results are not what they anticipated. BUT WAIT-here’s the hard part-they are so quick-witted and articulate, they have either changed their minds-or the rationale of what is important-that those trying to keep up can be back at square one.
So-needless to say, room for change and flexibility should be built into any Gemini’s decor…perhaps neutral fabrics, and keeping the paint fan deck handy, as well as a painter on retainer could be the answer?
With all this hustle and bustle, Geminis do not tend to take the time to rest and re-charge. To soothe their nerve endings, and rejuvenate their mojo, think soft colors and fabrics. Not pastel or sherbert tones, but warmed, nuanced versions…a spiced burgandy, or barn red instead of a clear red; a gray-ed sage instead of an emerald or evergreen.
Mix, and layer patterns in small and inexpensive ways-pillows, or use a bowl of woven, painted or hand-blown glass balls as a centerpiece. A great gift for a Gemini would be one of those tabletop mind-bender puzzles-like 3 story tic tac toe, or something to take apart and re-assemble.
Books, and writing is big for Geminis, as well. Not personal correspondence as much as poetry or prose-so make sure a desk, good lighting, and some bookshelves are part of the plan.
SO-best words of advice: If you are a Gemini, have patience for the mere mortals who live with you, or are trying to help you. If you are a co-decision maker with a Gemini, it’d probably be best if you did your own research or reconnaissaince missions first. No guarantees, but being prepared is your best shot at keeping up.
Meteorologists define winter as the time span from December 21 to March 20th.
To baseball fans, winter is that flat, joyless time that kicks in sometime in October, and lasts clear up until around Valentines Day. Depending on how your team did, symptoms can be resignation, disgust, determination; on rare occasions it’s a glow that slowly fades. The only known remedy is the green grass and blue skies of Spring Training.
Last year Mel Ahrens started, and ran the ActiveRain Baseball Junkies League, I joined, and it was THE BEST. Free, all we needed was a Yahoo account, so what’s not to love?? Back from last year are Mel, Jeffrey DiMurio, Craig Rutman, Jim Patton , and myself. This year we are joined by two more GIRLS of summer: Tracy, CA Realtor extraordinaire Susan Goulding, and AR’s own sweetheart Kerrie Greenhalgh.
Hailing from the wild north is former baseball prodigy and Minnesota Realtor Bill Feela, and from the even wilder northeast-you know him, you love him, Phil Faranda. Rounding out our group is the skipper of the mysterious Brewster 9…that is my husband Doug…who is still trying to convince his wife (that’d be me-Commissioner, and OHYES, last years’ winner)-on the error of her ways in evaluating stats. HA!
At the start of the season, the league resembled a soccer game with five-year olds: lots of activity, but no clear trajectory. But the ensuing weeks have got everyone settled down, and we have ourselves A RACE!
Now-it’s a long season, and anything can happen. A slump-or breakthrough? A rainy weekend? A couple of Can Not Trade players on DL? It can happen to any of us-but one quarter into the season, here is where things stand:
ONE POINT-which scoring-wise is like one third of a stolen base, or being able to correctly spell the last name of the Red Sox catcher-is all that separate the top three teams: Doug, myself, and Jim.
TEN POINTS-which could be all your pitchers having a good outing, a couple of home runs, and a few rain-outs-or a bad fajita- for the other guys-is what separate the next four teams: Kerrie, Mel, Bill and Jeff.
SEVEN POINTS-what you’d score if say two guys broke out of a slump-or if one of the other managers were too busy SELLING HOUSES to update their pitcher rotation-is what separate the rest of the teams: Craig, Susan, and Phil.
Now, it’s a long season, and you can’t rule any of the players out. For example, experience has taught me that Jim can trade his way out of a jam in a heartbeat. Mel and Bill are both stat masters, and Susan has an awesome pair of bench coaches. The rest of us-Kerrie, Craig, Jeff, Phil, Doug and myself-we’re all from New York, so there you go, no worries about US!
Stay tuned, and hope you’re enjoying the season as much as we are!!
Astrology is one of those things that has lots of degrees of believing, but thought it’d be fun to take a casual look at the current sign, and some of the decor ideas the stars say they will love. So this month, we wish a Happy Birthday to Taurus!
Taurus (April 21-May 20) is represented by the Bull. An Earth sign, they are solid, and truly planted. Most Taureans would describe themselves as ‘patient’…while the other 11/12ths of the population would characterize them as ‘stubborn’. Ahhh, perspective!
Home-as a place to welcome and put up friends and family-is very important to Taurus. They are a real ‘home and hearth’ personality; a stable group that prefers a serene and consistent environment. They don’t make any decisions before they are ready to, and not too fond of change in general; sudden change sets them off badly.
But don’t get any idea they are sticks-in-the-mud, or anyone to trifle with, either. They are rock-solid in their chosen fields, just without all the drama. Some famous Bulls include sports legends Johnny Unitas, Yogi Berra, Andre Agassi and David Beckham, and Popes Pius IX, and John Paul II. Actors Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, George Clooney; Doctors Sigmund Freud and Benjamin Spock also born under this sign.
World leaders-the good, bad and the ugly-have a strong presence here: Golda Meir, Czar Nicholas II, former PM Tony Blair, Queen Elizabeth; as well as Hirohito, Saddam Hussein, Marx, Lenin, Ho Chi Min. Taurus is second most popular sign of US Presidents (after Leo): Monroe, Buchanan, Grant and Truman…presidential progenitor Prescott Bush was also born a Taurus, does that count for two more??
Grounded as they are, Taureans tend toward the earth tones-warm browns and corals, mossy greens, and neutrals. Picture the matador waving a red flag-you’ll remember bouncy and vibrant colors hold little appeal to Bulls. They are not early adapters-meaning they will not be camping out for the next ipod release, but show they BIG-well, that’s another story. There is no room in their lives for cute, dainty or fussy. They will buy the loft over the seaside cottage, and their choice of furniture will be simple, but of generous proportions.
Who doesn’t love spring? OK allergy sufferers aside…who doesn’t love spring? There is just so much going on, and so much to like about this time of year.
One thing I’m seeing and hearing a lot about are pet adoption events. Pet stores, volunteer rescue organizations, even vets are promoting pet adoption.
Pet adoption is an act of true compassion. Done well and responsibly, I think it’s a wonderful idea, as there are SO many animals, with SO much love and comfort to
give and share.
Animals end up in a shelter for a number of reasons, but one big one is a pet owner making an impulsive, uninformed, or unsuitable choice in t
he first place, which is why I love this book so much.
No matter your age, or your level of experience or familiarity with the canine species, you will learn something from
Carol Lea Benjamin has been writing about dogs for decades. Easy to see it is a lobor of love. Much of her early work is about dogs from shelters. I found this book at the local library about 10 or 11 years ago; I have since bought and given out probably 2 dozen copies as gifts.
See, here’s the thing-when you finally make it to the shelter, in your mind, you think you have made the hardest decision. You get there, and you are goo…just so are ready to scoop up the first wriggling bundle of fur so you can romp off into the sunset together. After losing Maggie Mae in 1999, we were three years in between dogs, and my arms literally ached to hold, and snuzzle with a dog again, so I know the feeling.
The Chosen Puppy is less than 90 pages long. A paperback, it’s about $10.00, unless you buy a used copy online someplace. It is sweet and short and common-sense advice on how to interview, choose, and train a shelter dog of any age.
Suitable and interesting for readers of any age, no complex terms, and lots of cute pencil drawings, reading it before we made the trip to it was an INVALUABLE guide when our moment of truth arrived, and in the ensuing months as we were training our sweet Bella Blue.
If you have a friend-neighbor-relative-client who is contemplating adopting a dog-get them this book. Spring is house-buying season, so if you know a dog is in the future of a new homebuyer, it makes a great housewarming gift. And while you’re at it, might as well check out, even pass on the links of these local shelters: Pets Alive in Elmsford, and the SPCA in Briarcliff. You’ll be glad you did.
The Refreshed Home~Because Experience Matters and Kindness Counts
Astrology is one of those things that has lots of degrees of believing.
Here is a casual look at the different signs, and some ideas that have real star-power for them; we’ll start with Pisces.
Pisces (February 21-March 20) is the last sign of the ‘cycle’, and is said to have inherited a a little bit of everything that went before them. Typical Pisceans are intuitive, imaginative and compassionate. They are sensitive to others, and to their environment.
Their creativity is abundant in the arts, but has applications in many fields. Some famous Pisceans are General William Westmoreland, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, Basketball Dunkmaster Julius Erving a.k.a. “Dr. J”, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Also, scientist Linus Paulding, Olympic Skater Dorothy Hamill, physisist Albert Einstein, activist Ralph Nader, famous daughter/news journalist Chelsea Clinton, and Inventor Alexander Graham Bell.
Sure, their sign is fishy, but the Jacques Cousteau School of Interior Design is not necessarily the way to go.
As far as color palette, blues-greens-purples-all the water tones are usually a good bet. Wouldn’t rule out reds, but not clear, stark reds. A GREAT RED for Pisces is Benjamin Moore Affinity’s AF-300 Dinner Party Red. Strong and deep, but blue undertones keep it warm and aged, not sharp or hard. Rarely will you see a Pisces drawn to browns, or yellows and oranges in their clear, or acid tones.
Because of their connection to-their fondness of-things that went before them, the newest, shiniest, biggest whatever will not catch their attention.Vintage, anything with a history-will hold much more attraction: tapestry or kilm pillows, a leather-topped writing desk, a cheval or landscape mirror.
Generally not attracted to “bling” or “glitz”-Elizabeth Taylor being one very obvious exception-but shimmer gets two thumbs up. Much like sun dancing over the water, it’s fluid, and mesmerizing. Iridescent taffeta as a table skirt or drapes, moire lampshades, even choosing a pearl finish on wall paint-are all ways to float a Pisces’ boat…so to speak.
Pieces do not like closed-in spaces, so it’s natural they’d gravitate to open floor plans of more modern homes, but the clean lines will be sleek and polished, even curved; but probably not hard or austere. An angular sofa becomes almost sculptural when covered in a rich mohair.
They are also not the most organized of souls, so generous and well-planned storage space makes it easy, and keeps the peace.
While Tuesday March 6th is the singular day where most states wiIl be holding their primaries, today, February 28th is really Super Tuesday.
Maybe even Super-Duper-Tuesday!
You see, today is my birthday!
February is a great month to have a birthday, as there are just not a lot of other things going on, I don’t have to share the day with any big sports event, or compete with another holiday, or other obligations of the season…
No one has to get the house painted, weed the garden or for the most part attend baby showers, weddings or graduations.
In fact, there is usually SO little going on, people cannot WAIT for the opportunity to go out, catch up, and have some fun with you. YUP, it’s just perfect.
There is an old stereotype about people not wanting to acknowlege birthdays, but I love it. Today I am 54, and have not even peaked yet.
But why should I have all the fun?? Please celebrate with me! Wherever you are today, imagine you are wearing a pointy hat with a tinsel pom-pom on it, make a wish, and have a cupcake on me (calories don’t count when it’s birthday-oriented!) It is a Happy Day, indeed!!
Yes indeed, it’s mid-February, which means Westminster Dog Show in NYC-YAY!!!
The dogs are great, I get smarter, and I even like the commercials!!
We all have our favorites, but the German Shepherd Dog is my favorite-favorite.
With Bella Blue at our side, we watched, hoped, then cheered when this almost 5 year old German Shepherd Dog named Captain Crunch -a.k.a ‘Cappy’-won best in the Herding Group.
No small feat, as there were some real lookers there, including a brand new breed from Mexico, who first year in made it into the judges’ first cut, out of 28 breeds.
Tomorrow night are the Terriers, Working and Sporting categories…then the crowing jewel, Best in Show competition, and we’ll be rooting for ‘Cappy’ all the way.
It will be an uphill battle, as the Herding Group has had only one Best of Show since the category was created in 1983.
BUT- – -
Can you guess which breed did win it then, back in 1987??
Bella actually does watch the TV intermittidly durnig the show, but Doug and I have found we need to balance our cheers with reassurances–”Bella, you KNOW we love the the best of all!” Isn’t it crazy how well they train us??
I love the right word. And I am absolutely crazy over this one. UNGAPATCHKA.
In fact, can’t believe I didn’t choose this for the inaugural word for this series.
One of my customers introduced it to me many years ago. Yiddish, it means exactly what it sounds like. Too much of anything, in an un-pleasing way. Inappropriate, over-the-top, not necessary. Even boring. Channeling Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart (while ruling on another matter), you know it when you see it.
Often done well, and entertaining in a specific time and place, it’s way outdated in another. We’ve all seen this done in different applications.
the refreshed home is all about getting things done in the most direct way possible, but prefers there to be some smiles along the way. ENJOY, but if these ring a little too true, we should talk soon.
First, SNL’s beloved Phil Hartman as a lovable chef with issues.
Then this delightful clip, originally posted on a really funny blog, Jewish Humor Central pretty much nails it.