fashion. wine. design... and my life.

Posts Tagged ‘fun’

That’s my pen…

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm

pen2Pentel.

ENERGEL.

Liquid Gel Ink.

Metal Tip .o7.

And ONLY black ink.

As of late… that’s my pen of choice.

In true “Bob Dole” fashion, I’ve always kept a good writing utensil close at hand.

An Army officer for a father, this practice, along with the notion that one should have a signature with “strength”, was subconsciously ingrained in me as a child.  I’m certain that my artistic abilities heightened the attraction for “all things” that made a mark.  But…evolving with age, it wasn’t until the high school years, that I became utterly obsessed — naaaaah — probably more like, enchanted with pens.

Fellow lovers of pens… you know how we do, eh?

The aisles at Staples stop us in our tracks.

Truth be told… it is any pen aisle in any store that will cast this magnetic draw.

Even if we are loyal to a brand, just gazing at the potential possibilities keeps us entranced… like a toddler exploring a new toy, it is both eye and hand candy!  Weak, I say!  Haha… it is a weakness, that is also exhilarating!  Annnnnnd with that “weakness”… referencing my initial statement; you HAVE to be a lover of pens to comprehend.

As a pen devotee, I am giddy… rather proud to say that in early March of this year, I won an Instagram contest sponsored by #pentelofamerica, my FAVORITE brand of pens.  

photo-1.PNG

Script on paper, with a quick nod to the past Washington DC blizzard like conditions, earned me several new free writing goodies!  Who knew that $250 in brand spanking new writing tools, delivered to my door… could have the same impact as the first sip of a fabulous glass of wine!

Haha… I’m spinning off course.  So all embellishments aside…

There is power in a pen.

A good writing pen.

One that effortlessly accentuates and enhances your handwriting.  One that simply glides as you write…  where the weight and size of the pen feels fabulous in your hand.  One that is attractive in its appearance… absolutely showing no signs of grime.  One that dispenses theeeeeeeeeeee “perfect” ink.  And one that puts that “professional” stamp and emphasis on what you do.

Did you get that last statement?

(Enter the mildly OCD me… the me with a few pen “pet peeves”)

That last statement is the true power.

Within a professional environment, a good pen… a good writing pen matters.  Simple as that!

The professional setting?

The full gamut of professional environments…. which includes any setting from the grocery store, to the doctor’s office, to schools, restaurants, retail establishments… you get where I’m going, right?   In a professional setting, don’t you dare require my signature/ask me to complete a form and then extend a pen that lessens the experience with your business.  (Actually, my one exception is automotive repair shops… with their hands embedded in oil changes and such, they can’t help the muck that accumulates on their pens).

I get that “lessens”  could read as such a harsh word.  Sooooo, without sounding haughty or arrogant, for truly, I’m only talking about a “pen”… I offer this anecdote.

With my career as an interior designer, it is common for my design firm to finish the month with a half of a million dollars (or plus) in sales.  The cost of our product, coupled with the amount money generated in sales, absolutely sets the tone for the “expected” experience with my firm.

While projects, as well as the final price for a project vary, the experience offered to each client is fair and consistent.  It is a full design service experience.  Naturally, each client tailors the service to suit their individual project needs… but completing the project, while protecting the “experience” is always priority.  And with the interior design field… it is an aesthetic experience.  One that begins with the initial designer/client meeting… and ends with the client “signing” on the dotted line.

Circling back to the power of the pen…

Such a tiny component of the experience.  Most may not even make the connection… or, bet yet, realize the relevance.

But how, as a professional, does one present a project (possibly in a range of thousands of dollars), engage the client and secure their “by-in”… and then… (wait for it)… extend a pen for their signature that reads “Suzi-Q’s hot-buttered Muffins”… you feel me?

It’s important.  It matters.  And albeit a minor element to the big picture… it matters!

It must matter… for in my professional world, I am a stickler for my writing tool.

So much so that, since my firm provides their own type of pen, I have always (since being employed with them) personally purchased my own pen of choice.  Nothing extravagantly expensive either…. a pack of 7 of my tool of choice may cost about $9 or $10 bucks.

What’s wrong with always wanting to be prepared… armed…  and ready to enhance the momentum of the “experience”.

Sounds silly, eh?

So if I tell you that several at my company have followed suit… does it still sound silly?

Surely this is applicable to other areas in both personal and professional worlds.  Curious if you too might share this belief…

I always have a pen.

Pentel.

ENERGEL.

Liquid Gel Ink.

Metal Tip .o7.

And ONLY black ink.

My pen.

Haha… and don’t be offended if when you extend yours, I reach for mine.

Cheers!

-k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…in my next lifetime, I’m coming back as a chef.

In Uncategorized on September 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm

chef

If I were to put all of my interests on paper, then toss those papers into a bowl, I wouldn’t be surprised by the sight of overflow.

Various interests fuel my spirit.  An assorted, hodgepodge potpourri that span numerous topics… and pretty much, makes me, me.   Haha… this bowl that I speak of is not exclusive.  We all have them… and surely each one is as unique and as detailed as our own fingerprint.

What gets my head spinning and makes me dizzy is this…

How in the world does one master all of their passions in one lifetime?

Proficiency in each and EVERY one of your interests is impossible, eh? (Side note:  if you are an anomaly, and have mastered it all… please contact me post-haste so that I might learn from you)

I’m thinking that it goes down like this:

With our overflowing bowl of interests, we all just dibble dabble in some, learn a bit more about others and perhaps master a handful — sound about right?   Well, that seems to be my manner of attack…. and truth be told, the only way that I know how to devour the plethora of things I’d like to know, do, see, experience… etc.

Hey… now that I think about it, maybe we are meant to have this  excess — and the reality is that we just have to save somethings for later.

Hmmmm, like another lifetime?  Haha, I really do say “another lifetime” in jest.

BUT!

If that were the case… I’m claiming it now and I’m telling you that I am definitely coming back as a chef!

When it comes to my interests, cooking is easily one of my top five.

An interest that stemmed from childhood, has now matured with adulthood.  The only way I know how to describe this passion is that I view it as a succulent and luscious art form.  I am repeatedly stimulated cooking — a basic necessity that has inexhaustible creative interpretations.  It fascinates me!

For the record… never have I participated in any culinary classes or had professional lessons.  The skills that I do have, I would attribute them to a small collection of individuals, both in my past and present… and countless hours of searching Google and the Food Network.  These folks seasoned me and generated an enthusiasm for cooking that couldn’t be ignored.  As for the internet.  Haha — it will FOREVER be a resource and my constant instructor!

If I had to put my finger on it and declare just one person my cooking muse… by far it would be my late grandmother Mrs. Ruth Everett Brown.

7 years deceased and Bill Wither’s song Grandma’s Hands  (which, ironically is playing as I type) always brings her to mind.

My grandma.

A woman who was both complex and mysterious…

who never worked outside of the house and never held a driver’s license…

a woman who was dedicated to her family (especially grandchildren)…

a woman who could sing a Sunday hymn at the drop of a dime…

a woman who could grown a garden and nurture a house plant like nobody’s business…

a woman whose hand hands could mend, fix, soothe, ease anything…

AND a woman who could cook.  I mean COOK.  She. Could. COOK!  Damn… she could cook!

Reel it back in Kisha… reel it in.  Wow… interesting how nostalgia presents itself… didn’t mean to go off on a tangent.

At any rate, she was my first example.

She poured love and pride into all of her creations.  Sitting back to watch family and friends consume her breakfasts, dinners, desserts — especially her homemade rolls — filled her heart with immense joy.  Not to mention the aromas that circulated and the moans that were released while they ate… well that was a priceless recognition that would make my grandma — a woman of few smiles — grin from ear to ear!

Taking those lessons and combining them with what others have knowingly and unknowingly bestowed upon me… I’ve just got to feed this fire within.

There are just so many elements of cooking that excite me.

The planning/arrangement of your dish, the execution of the recipe, the scent of your food engulfing the room and the pleasure in achieving that tasty end result… all of the above do it for me.  But more so, I am incredibly attracted to the fellowship and bond that cooking affords.  It literally feeds the soul.  When you have something that is so satisfying… so delicious… it becomes a memory.  Everything about that dish… the place, the people who accompanied you, the presentation and the chef — it gets etched in your brain and onto your palate.

And you simply want more.  Right?

Preparing a dish for others and then the group communion as the dish is consumed — that creates a sensation inside that only one who too enjoys the craft would be able to comprehend.  I, like my grandma, revel in watching others eat what I have prepared.  I too find it flattering.  And just like her… it generates a smile like no other.

Humph…

You know what?

Waiting for whenever… or next lifetime… that is not an option.

I want it now.  So then why am I waiting?!  Although I am not completely sure how me becoming a better cook will unfold… what I do know for sure is that I am game… and I’m going for it.

Actually, I do know my first step…

According to several who have been in my kitchen, I need to update my utensils — especially my knives!

Got a favorite brand?  As always, I welcome any suggestions…

Cheers!

-k

And once again, the house is quiet…

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm

houseThe expression that “time flies” gains more truth with year that passes.

For me, the gauge presents itself in birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, weddings and funerals… mainly because these are generally times of reflection and or times in which you see and catch-up with family/friends who are removed from your daily routine.

Times when, for better or worse, the cyclical rhythm of our lives become more visible. And we note it like a bookmark, eh? Self-assigned “life” passport stamps, proving and illustrating the old saying that “time flies” and also, that it waits for no one.

So, as time would have it, yet another cycle has come to pass. The lazy days of summer have come to a close and the hustle, hustle, bustle, bustle of back-to-school now begins.

Today, it is official.

A new school year eagerly greets my 10th grader and 8th grader… as well as my husband who teaches high school special education and coaches varsity football. Their summer break is now a memory and the 5:45am wake-up time to prepare for the school day is now reality.

Back to school! Back to our morning routine… and my routine on my days off.

Ahhhhhhhhhh! Which means for me… once again, the house is quiet.

Haha — certainly, I am not alone with my sentiments?! Show of hands…. raise them!

Keeping it real, I’m going to blame my feelings on an ever so slight (yes, EVER so slight) case of jealously. As a working mom, with a full-time profession that is unlike my husband’s, I have never experienced the joy of a summer break.

In the past, when the cycle of summer break would appear, I would grow incredibly envious of my family’s carefree days. The house was filled with constant activity, late bed-times and even later wake-ups! Hey… going to work while your family is still in the bed, enjoying their deep slumber … or knowing that they have packed and are off to some exciting day adventure — I’ll break it down into two words: NO FUN!

Don’t get me wrong now … during the summer, I’m really left out. Naturally, summer breaks afford an opportunity for a vacation, impromptu social gatherings, house guests, grilling, loud(er) music and laughing til’ the wee hours of the morning. Again, a hub of activity… and in my house, we are no strangers to such — and yes, I am an active participant! It’s just different… bittersweet knowing that the next day you go to work while they are still on break.

At any rate, it is what it is… and contrary to what it may seem, I do welcome the summer.

I’ve become more accustomed the summer break routine.

And, as time would have it (and since I’m a grown ass woman who basically had to get a grip on her feelings) instead of being OVERLY envious and focusing on what I wasn’t doing with my family, I curtailed it to a slight jealously… I decided to see the bigger picture. My children have a father who is on break with them… they are in safe loving hands… and, they are happy. Now I actually love the shift that accompanies summer… and when the new school year resurfaces, I realize how much I too adore the back-to-school routine.

Guess what?

Today, I have it back.

And while I miss my family when they are away… during my days off of work; once again, the house is quiet.

It’s me time.

Coffee time.

Blogging time.

Cleaning and redecorating time.

stella & dot time.

Anything I want to do…

Well, that is until 2:45pm… school’s out and it’s time for pick-up!

Cheers!

-k

Mine are magenta!

In Uncategorized on March 19, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Fuchsia, hot pink, raspberry… pinkish purple.

Call it what you want… but mine are magenta and they are snazzy!

If you haven’t heard by now – colored denim is all the rage for the spring and summer.  Everyone… and I mean EVERYONE has created their version.  With styles and price points ranging from couture level to JC Penny and Target – colored denim definitely has a presence.

A nod to the colorful 1980’s?  Of course… but the 2012 editions have been revamped and are refined.  The updated styling options of pants, shorts, skirts and jackets are vast and not just for women – YES FELLAS, you too can sport this look!

Male or female, don’t be shy.  Why not have a bit of fun and embrace this colorful craze?    The color selection is so broad – surely your favorite color can be found.  It’s an easy way to wake up your trusty neutrals or, if you prefer a bolder approach, the perfect pairing for other colorful items — what a punch, eh?  Yes, I am your pusher, for I say dive in!  Don’t deny yourself!  Finding a pair (or two) can easily be accomplished… the only difficulty you might encounter is ensuring a proper fit for your body type.  Wait — that’s another blog topic, eh?

My story…

Since I adore my fashion magazines, especially InStyle and Lucky, I am constantly thumbing through the pages to see what will be the “look” for the season.  Rewind back to the January magazine editions… that’s when I first stumbled across the images of colored denim, all of the ads, the styling options — and that’s when I saw my magenta pants!  Wow – the hairs on my arms stand up when I think about it.  Those damn pants were hot… they spoke to me – “Kishaaaaaaaa… this is all you!  Kishaaaaaaa… we are meant to be.  Kishaaaaaaa… you have got to have me.”  Haha – seriously, that’s what they said!

Immediately, I was in love!  I envisioned myself wearing them –  in a matter of seconds, I know that I complied at least a week’s worth of different outfits.  Those damn magenta pants… they consumed me.  I was weak – I lusted after those pants!  I know… craziness!  The things some do for fashion, eh?

Sooooo…

After a few months of being frugal and patiently waiting for a sale, I finally invested and got my pants.  Score!  Even at full price (since the sale on these puppies never came) I am still elated — the fit is pure perfection!  As I shift from side to side in the mirror admiring the fit of my new Always Skinny Skimmer jeans, all I can think is – gotta love GAP denim!  What is it about their denim???

Actually, let me not pretend like I don’t already know the answer to that question.  Considering that I was employed with the company  for almost 10 years, I know that at GAP, they get denim right.  A variety of fits to suit the body types and style preferences for both men and women, several options with denim washes and a moderate price point… GAP denim is just classic.  Trust me, if you enter that store with a need for denim and the patience for trying things on — walking out with a great fitting pair of jeans is guaranteed!  GUARANTEED!

Just two little secrets to share:

  1. Have an open mind on sizing  – let the fit on your body be the guide, rather than the size on the pants.
  2. When trying on, take multiple items in the same size with you in the fitting room.

GAP, as with all retailers, has an allotted size variance during manufacturing.  Hmmm, if memory serves me correctly, it is 1/4″ … or is it 1/2″  — bottom line, the same size can vary in fit.  So, for example, if you are a size 8 — take all the 8’s in the fitting room.  Pay attention to the fit of each – SERIOUSLY – there is one that is bound to fit better.  My magenta pants… I tried on 3 in the same size — what is that saying about the third time is a charm?  Yep.  Number 3 was the one!

Perfect timing for the arrival of spring, eh?  Hey, if you haven’t even or ever considered colored denim – it’s not too late.  With all the press centered around this color trend, I am pretty certain that the stores will continue to replenish their inventory.  With a quickness!

As I tear the tags of off mine, I am smirking at this… my hang tag reads:

“Don’t be afraid to show some skin… a little bit of ankle and a whole lot of attitude!”

Those damn magenta pants… we are about to have some fun!

Cheers!

-k

A vision… captured on a board.

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

After months of chatter with a select group of colleagues, it finally came to fruition – I had a vision board party.

Why?

I’d say  – why not?

The idea of making a collage or board via collected images that depict goals and aspirations isn’t new, it is a practice that stems from our elementary school days, eh?  In our current time — times pronounced by heightened self-awareness and a constant re-evaluation of self, these boards – vision boards – are being revived.  Adults making vision boards is experiencing a reawakening… especially gathering and sharing the experience with those who respect and appreciate the process.

Probably the 2006 release of Rhonda Byrne’s best-selling book The Secret, best captures the board’s intent.  The book speaks on the law of attraction, the power of positive thinking, expressing gratitude and utilizing visualization to attain goals.  Simply put — a vision board acts as your channel.  A vehicle for your short-term and long-term goals.  An artistic daily reminder of your dreams and way of harnessing your energy so that your desires become reality.

Nice, eh?!  Refreshing, innovative… and actually when done as a group, the event can be incredibly insightful.

As planned, the group was small – both colleagues and friends.  Truly a quartet – for instead of song, our melody was the sound of magazine pages being torn, scissors cutting and the thump of glue sticks as they moved about the table.  Foam board, canvases, card stock, and a slew of magazines decorated the floor… some of the guests came prepared with several images to incorporate onto their board, others came simply driven by spontaneity – using the magazines I had on hand to interpret their vision.  Good times…and definitely more than just a night of sophisticated cut and paste/arts and crafts.

The party was a success!

We all were able to create a uniquely motivating vision board.  I’m thinking mission accomplished!  My favorite element — the party concluded with each guest having a platform to explain their board to the group and describe their vision.  How interesting it is to discover the dreams of another… and how humbling it is to see their passion as they share their desires.  At that point, the board takes flight, eh?!  We have given it breath – all that is left is to find a prominent spot in your home to keep the board in your constant sight and work towards your dreams!

Haha — and don’t think that we didn’t have treats!

Yes, appetizers, fresh fruits and sweets … but treats is also code for wine!

Of the several bottles that were on hand, two were a gift to me from my boss.  Two reds from the Tara Winery in Leesburg, VA – Nevaeh Red 2008 and Tranquility 2009.  Absolutely AMAZING!  Especially the Tranquility 2009.  Screaming with flavor and packed with structure, it was the  perfect mate for my “it’s so delicious that IF you ever taste it, you will crave it” spinach dip.  Haha – all jokes aside – SERIOUSLY, it is that damn good!  For me, there is more to learn about these well priced wines… this summer, I’m definitely committed to visiting this winery and scheduling a tasting.

So now perhaps you too are inspired about instituting a vision board in your life?

Take a peek at what our group created —

(a closer image of my board)

I am inspired… and I encourage you to get creative!

Cheers!

-k