So I’m 50 and Now What!!!?#$%&;@

Since my 50th birthday, 2 weeks ago, I have calmed down about the whole Milestone decade thing. My days at work breezed by without a blink. No one knew or cared. Life was the same. The only people that mattered made sure to celebrate me. I had a wonderful time with my siblings and cousins, who are so close to me that we were able to enjoy a very special girls getaway.

As part of my promise to myself,  I saw my PCP. I was very pleased to get a clean bill of health. I received my annual flu shot, my cholesterol and blood pressure report and a referral to get a colonoscopy.

Okay, I’ll admit that one was not a surprise. I knew it was coming. but that doesn’t mean I am looking forward to it. However, I do resolve to take care of myself and do all my tests this year: my mammogram, my eye exam and my dermatologist.

So , as a reward for being so proactive in my health regimen, I decided to reward myself with a facial. I booked one at my local spa. Anti-aging was my goal. I wanted to get some relief for those dark circles and age spots.

I enjoyed a very relaxing facial treatment while she explained the benefits of each product. I was almost convinced that the eye cream with Retinol A, cucumber extract and caffeine was just what I needed to improve my complexion.

When I walked up to the counter and saw the product waiting for me, with an $80 price tag for less than one ounce, I balked. I am not old enough,wrinkled enough, or dull enough to justify such an extravagant and expensive beauty cream. No Thank You! Try me again when I’m 60!

Advertisements

Aromatherapy: The Wonder of Nature’s Perfume

TulipFestAfter a long, cold winter, I can hardly complain about the heat and humidity of the last few days. It seems hard to believe that only a few days ago, I was covering my sensitive annuals with hay due to a frost advisory.

IMG_9627Nevertheless, my perennial bulbs are loving this heat spell and I am taking full advantage of the abundance of blooms to bring indoors.

If you have followed my blog over the years, you know my favorite flowers are Lilacs. These are my Miss Kim Lilacs-which bloom 2 weeks later than the standard ones- so my Lilac season lasts much longer than one would think possible. Putting my nose into the florets is “heavenly bliss”. I have no other way to describe the delightful aromas that put me into a state of ecstasy.LilacBliss

Then my Iris start opening- both single and double bearded varieties. The single ones have a sugary powdered scent that satisfies my cravings, while the doubles have a darker, richer fragrance that doesn’t let me go.HeavenlyIris

This year at almost the same time, the Peonies began opening. They have a completely different aura. Sweet, but more sophisticated, with layers of roses infiltrated into them- wild, climbing, tea- all varieties are collected into one breed.Peony9698

I spent Memorial Day weekend catching up on yardwork, with many hours spent outside. By  the time I returned to work on Tuesday I wasn’t sure I could take even a half day indoors. I decided to bring a bouquet of flowers to the office. I collected Peonies, Iris and Lilacs and set them up in my 150 sq. ft office that I share with my partner.

20150526_211216

We enjoyed the sweet wafts of scent that the breezes from  our open window spread around the room. However, the real aromatherapy was noticed when our colleagues came bursting in the door- frantically asking us questions- and then paused, mid-sentence- to notice how wonderful our flowers smelled. By the time they were done taking in and appreciating the beautiful display, they had forgotten the urgency of their visit and we were able to conduct business in a much more agreeable way.

Too bad I don’t know of any season that yields more fragrant flowers than the month of May. As the days get hotter, the fragrances are only noticeable to the birds and the bees. As beautiful as Sunflowers, Phlox, poppies and Gladiolus are, they really don’t have the same scent appeal. May is the season for Aromatherapy.IMG_9645

Spring is finally here!

IMG_9619

I haven’t had time to post in a while. I started a new job in March-which I love- but will have to post on that another day. For today, I am just going to entice you with a few shots I took of my budding spring flowers. For most of them I used my macro lens attachments. Enjoy the close ups! I love trying to guess what they are. Some are unrecognizable in this early stage. If you want to help me guess, please leave a comment- especially on photo #7 (and 10 which is the same). I’m clueless, but it’s beautiful, right?

#7

IMG_9638

#10

IMG_9668  IMG_9643  IMG_9662  IMG_9650  IMG_9627  IMG_9674    IMG_9666 IMG_9629

 

How to Survive a Kitchen Makeover: Tip # 8

Tip #8: Use multiple websites and save one search engine for emergency

Yeah! My countertops were installed today on schedule and I think they are even better than anticipated.

20140729_104316

20140729_104338

20140729_104407

 

My backsplash tile should be a perfect match, but I realize I need to make my kitchen pop with accents.  I already knew I wanted counter height stools at the island, but had not decided what they would be. Now I have the counter tops in place and I am thinking red is a great color to tie everything together (dining room, family room, laundry room). Plus, red is an appetite stimulator- so perfect for the kitchen. I have been gathering accessories I already own to test my decision. I already have several red accents which I laid out as a test run, but this was an excuse to buy more.

IMG_9103 IMG_9104 IMG_9105  accents1 accents2

I went online to look at counter height  stools and really liked a pair I saw in red. They had awesome reviews and were a very reasonable price, but I wanted to run it by my husband before I jumped into such a bold move. By the time we looked at the website the price had escalated from the bargain $229/pair to $279/pair. I need 2 pairs so that was an extra $100.

Hence my tip: save one search engine for emergency.   I do most of my research on Internet Explorer, but once I discovered I was shut out of my bargain price I resorted to Mozilla Firefox and conducted a “brand new” search. Even though I knew exactly what I was looking for, I was ahead of the “game” and managed to come up with the same initial bargain. I nailed down the offer and made my purchase. These are the stools that should be arriving at my house next week.

Cosmopolitan-Burnt-Red-Leather-Counter-Stools-Set-of-2-b76fe248-828c-4300-85a8-a25caf7afe5f_320

In the meantime, I actually had the opportunity to cook dinner in my kitchen! I used some of the fresh vegetables and herbs in my garden that are feeling very neglected: eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, oregano, basil. It was a delicious dinner and it was totally prepared, cooked and served indoors! (Ratatouille with pasta- yummy!)

First dinner prepped, cooked and served in my new kitchen!

First dinner prepped, cooked and served in my new kitchen!

 

 

How to Survive a Kitchen Makeover: Tip #3

   Tip # 3: Pretend You are Camping

My husband actually took me on my first camping trip when we were courting, so I have many fond memories from the first one. Subsequently, we took many camping trips with the children when they were young. If you are not a fan of camping, maybe this tip doesn’t work for you; but if you are- it sounds like “glamping”.

20140709_191246

I have my coolers filled with cheese, milk, hardboiled eggs, hummus and drinks and my propane tanks are full and ready for grilling. My outdoor dining area is eager for use (which is why redoing your kitchen in the summertime really helps the process).

20140709_191332

 

I have a second entrance to my deck from the dining room. The grill and double burners are only steps away.

20140709_191324

I am using the dining room table as a pantry/work area. There is a utility sink in the laundry room and I have been using paper plates and reusable plastic cutlery.

20140709_191302

I resisted the urge to set up my microwave; but with only a few compromises on whole grain products, I feel I am actually keeping to a healthy diet.

The coolers need a new bag of ice daily and I have to buy food in smaller, less cost-efficient portions, but overall it is similar to camping- plus the benefits of indoor flush toilets and hot showers every day. Now the only question is; “How long can I put up with this?”

 

 

How to Survive a Kitchen Makeover: Tip #2

As bad as the kitchen looks and as noisy as it gets with drilling, sawing and hammering, everything is easier to handle after my cup of coffee. Therefore,  Tip # 2:

Tip #2: Coffee station

The very first thing to do once you are ready to live in the house during a kitchen makeover, is to set up a coffee station. My apologies to tea drinkers, but the same policy still applies. After returning home from vacation and seeing my gutted kitchen, I displaced a lamp and reclaimed the outlet, installing my coffee machine.

20140709_191203

I stocked up on thermal disposable cups and a few gallons of water. Then I set my alarm for 15 minutes prior to the arrival of the electricians and made my cup of coffee. By the time they arrived at 7:30, I was ready to greet them with a smile.

In addition to installing the new lighting, they were also responsible for fixing the “problem” I mentioned in yesterday’s post. We had a structural beam that was improperly secured. In fact, it was not bolted together and was significantly sagging. It required jacking up the beam and adding an extra support- apparently a $1000 fix.

 

Not bolted, sagging

Not bolted, sagging

IMG_9011

No worries, I may not be able to use my kitchen for a while; but at least I have my coffee.

How to Survive a Kitchen Makeover: Tip 1

You may wonder why I am posting the above title on a blog title The Middle Generation. Here is my explanation:

After a dozen years in this house and many DIY home improvements, Husband and I have decided to bite the bullet and treat ourselves to new kitchen- One we can enjoy cooking in, together or with our family, without tripping over each other. We also accepted the idea that this was too big a deal to tackle on our own. We hired a designer and worked out a plan with him. It will completely change the layout which requires moving plumbing, electric, gas lines and ventilation system. (see below for before and projected after shots).

IMG_8483    IMG_8485   IMG_8479

BEFORE: CROWDED, POOR LAYOUT, FALLING APART

Builder's design

Builder’s design

 

 

Computer model not to scale or color

Computer model not to scale or color

AFTER: MORE ROOMY AND OPEN FEEL, MORE WORK AREAS

So here we are a week into the project and I have decided to use my blog to share my adventures and tips and to update the progress of this project with my family and friends- and anyone else who is pondering a kitchen makeover and wants some inside tips. Let me begin with Tip #1.

Tip #1- Plan a Getaway

Believe me. During the demolition stage you do not want to be around. There will be pieces of sheet rock, cement and tile flying through the air. Furthermore, it is noisy and very stressful to see your house getting torn apart and covered in dust- even if you hate the cabinets.

We were fortunate enough to already have a planned vacation in place the week this project began. So on Monday, I was relaxing on the Jersey shore, enjoying the sound of waves and the unseasonably warm water. Finding a text from our builder at 2:30 pm saying, “We need to talk” didn’t sound good; but, hey, I was in vacation mode. No worries, mon. If you follow HGTV as I do, you know how common it is to find serious problems when renovating, so of course, we found ours. However, as long as it was fixable without compromising our vision, we were okay with it. By 3:30 I was back on the beach with my book.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about the project and wondering what it would look like when I got home. I figured no news was good news and enjoyed my vacation. By the time I got home, this is how it looked. The demolition was over- so it can only improve from here.

IMG_9002

Totally gutted ,even the tile floor

Totally gutted ,even the tile floor

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries