Give Your Space a Spring Facelift

Give Your Space a Spring Facelift

As the spring sun warms the air, it is past time to put away the heavy colors and textures of winter. It’s brighter outside, so it should be brighter inside too. Here are a few tips to bring spring beauty into whatever space you want.

Clean up!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Spring cleaning is essential! While it’s important to disinfect and tidy things, another necessary part of spring cleaning is paring down. Get rid of those gifts you didn’t really want, or that sweater you haven’t worn since 2016, or those tchotchkes you don’t even see anymore but constantly have to dust. My rules of thumb are these: Either you love it, or you need it, or both, or it goes; and, if you haven’t worn/used/read/played with/listened to/watched it in six months, you never will, so out it goes. It’s freeing to get rid of things you don’t love, need, or use. This freedom mimics the freedom you gain in the spring to go outside and enjoy yourself.

Use lighter colors and textures.

I’ll admit it, I love the dark colors of winter, especially maroon and emerald. But when it’s bright and sunny outside, those colors tend to look too heavy and darken a room. Another thing that darkens a room is the textures you use. Velvet and cable knits are some of my favorites, but they are thick and heavy. Try lace, or cotton, or linen, or just lighter weaves, when it comes to pillows and blankets and other things.

Add plants.

Flowers and plants bring life and color to a space. Depending on your resources and allergies (or lack thereof), you may choose fresh or silk flowers. Adding some form of plants or flowers makes your indoor space mimic the outdoors, which brings the outdoors inside.

Open windows.

Finally, it’s lovely enough outside to open the windows, so if you are stuck inside, you can still enjoy the fresh air. Feel the warmth of the sun-filled air, the coolness of the breeze. Smell the flowers giving up their sweetness. Listen to the birds and the dogs and the wind in the trees. Opening your space to these things is another way to bring the outdoors inside. Even just opening the blinds can help, by letting in more sunlight.

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It’s Spring – Get Outside!

It’s Spring – Get Outside!

As you may have noticed from my post on Monday, spring is here, and I’m very excited about it! My favorite thing about spring (besides the flowers, of course) is the lovely weather. The wonderful thing about spring is that all Tiggers’ bottoms are made out of them – no, wait. The wonderful thing about spring is that it’s so warm outside, but there is still a wintery nip in the air that makes the heat bearable. I’ve put together some ideas for you to enjoy the lovely weather outside. Enjoy!

Go for a walk.

As I said before, one of my very favorite things about spring is the flowers. Why not go outside and enjoy the sight and smell of them on a walk in the sunshine? You can take pictures of them, pick a few to brighten your house, or just stop and smell the roses – literally.

Take up gardening.

If you’re like me – a hands-on lover of nature and of flowers and fruits and vegetables – you may (and this includes me) want to take up gardening. Gardening is true, white magic. You care for and love these tiny seeds, and hopefully, with attention and water and sunlight, they become something bigger and beautiful and beneficial. You get the benefit of being outside, exercise, and communing with the earth. Plus, there is a real, tangible reward for your efforts – something many of us don’t necessarily see with our daily accomplishments.

Go strawberry-picking.

There are so many benefits to this! For one, can you say healthy and delicious snack? For another, you earn your food, which is, depending on the farm you choose, organic and untreated. You literally get to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and it’s yummy.

Have a picnic.

In my mind there is nothing more romantic than a big, plush outdoor blanket under a tree, in dappled sunlight, with a delectable spread of food and drink to enjoy with family, friends, and/or a significant other. Bring an instrument and have a sing along. If you’re by a body of water, wear your bathing suit and take a dip when it’s too hot in the sun. Or, if you’re alone, bring a book, or take a nap. The possibilities are endless.

Play.

Before you balk at this suggestion, I would like to remind you that all human beings, regardless of age, need to and do play. As adults we typically no longer play make-believe (except for DnD), but we still play. It’s good for us, and actually essential. Grab a frisbee or a ball and toss it around. Play pickup soccer, basketball, volleyball, or softball. Get out your cornhole set, or play water pong (it’s much more sanitary than traditional beer pong). Don’t be afraid of the word “play” – just do it.

The New Falls Church Staple

The New Falls Church Staple

Since its establishment in 1950, the Frozen Dairy Bar was always a Falls Church staple. Originally housed in a small Art Deco building on a lot near Route 50, the Frozen Dairy Bar fought against the development of the lot, but eventually became a part of the new shopping center. In 2015 the Frozen Dairy Bar got a makeover and was renamed the FDB Eatery. Instead of being the local frozen custard place that happened to serve food, the FDB Eatery tried to become a nicer restaurant that happened to serve frozen custard. The frozen custard counter was closed off from the rest of the restaurant, and the decor was dark and uninviting.

Sunday night my mother and I were happy to discover that the FDB Eatery has since come into the ownership of married couple Usman Batti and Lilly Kaur, the owners of the popular food truck, DC Steakholders. The Frozen Dairy Bar, now DC Steakholders, opened April 6, 2019. As avid lovers of the original establishment, we were eager to try the frozen custard at DC Steakholders.

We were not disappointed. We both got chocolate custard, and it was great. Frozen custard is by its very nature richer than ice cream, but the frozen custard at DC Steakholders was richer than what I remember from the Frozen Dairy Bar. Just as smooth as the original, the DC Steakholders frozen custard tastes more luxurious, and the chocolate flavor was excellent.

Another lovely change was the decor. DC Steakholders’ decor harks back to that of the original. There are prints of diners, traditional American food, and other memorabilia Americana decorating the walls. The paint is a cheery, gentle light yellow, much better than the dark red of the FDB Eatery. In true diner fashion, there is a neon light running near the ceiling.

DC Steakholders does not put on airs, and also respects the history of the original Frozen Dairy Bar. It’s pretty to look at, and the custard is delicious. We will definitely return to try the cheesesteaks – and wrap up with more custard.

Springtime Reflections

Springtime Reflections

I love spring; it’s my favorite season. It’s beautiful, colorful, scented, and hopeful. The feeling that the air is warming, the sight of the lengthening days, affects us all. Spring fever is a reality. Mother Nature is reinventing herself, and as tenants of her domain, we wish to do the same.

Spring is a time of year (rivaled only by autumn) when the weather and temperature are pleasant, for the vast majority of days. Spring has something autumn does not: hope and promise. Autumn is the time of year where the Earth takes off her makeup, takes a shower, and gets into bed, leaving us with her often-cruel younger cousin, winter. Spring is the awakening of the Earth, and the time during which she gets ready for the day, which stretches before her full of possibility.

Spring cleaning is an excellent practice for starting fresh. It’s good to get all the dirt, dust, and general grime out of the house when winter is over. But don’t stop there – clean your car, or downsize your wardrobe, or throw out the things you kept because they might be important and turned out not to be. Doing a deep clean before the real heat sets in will allow you more freedom, because all the cleaning to be done for the rest of the season won’t have to be as in-depth.

Spring is a wonderful time of year, especially for those of us without allergies. If you are one of the fortunate allergy-free population, take advantage of the warmer weather to enter the domain from which you were barred for so many months: the outdoors. Feel the warmth of the sun with the lingering chill of winter in the air. Smell the grass being cut and the flowers in the breeze and the oncoming rain. Look at the growing verdancy, the blossoming colors, the little animals tentatively leaving their holes to go about their business. Take pictures. Touch flower petals. Breathe. Enjoy.

Monthly Goals for April

Monthly Goals for April

Hello! It appears another month has begun, and you know what that means. It’s time for the monthly goals for April!

I don’t know that this is a goal, per se, because the tickets are already bought, but I’m going to Portland, OR the last weekend in April to visit the boyfriend! I’m so excited; I’ve never been further west than Houston, and that only happened last Christmas. I love traveling, exploring new places, and learning new things. If you have any recommendations of things to do, see, eat, or drink in Portland, please leave a comment down below!

In the last week of March I lost four pounds. I don’t know if that was because I’d been bedridden from a bout of bronchitis where I didn’t eat very much, but I’m happy about it and proud of it. I’d like to lose two pounds a week this month. I’ve been eating like crap in the recent past, and I’ve been noticing the difference in how I feel. It isn’t worth it, and I have to remember that.

I want to look at my phone less, pay more attention, listen better, and read more paper books. My phone and laptop are crutches I use to escape being social, and I need to realize that not only do people like me, they want to hear what I have to say. I like to be listened and paid attention to, so I’d like to do the same for the other people in my life.

These are a few of my April goals. Hopefully I meet them. If not, I’ll try not to beat myself up about it. Happy spring!

Four Things I’ve Learned about Love in Four Years

Four Things I’ve Learned about Love in Four Years

Today is Ben and my fourth anniversary. It’s funny; on the one hand, I almost can’t believe we didn’t just get together, because I’m still so crazy about him. On the other, it feels as though I’ve always known him, and when I didn’t, I was just waiting for him. (Not that my whole life was spent waiting for him, but a part of me was waiting.) Anyway, here are four things I’ve learned about love in these four years. I hope they help you in your journey, wherever you are.

Communication is non-negotiable.

I know, I know. It’s such a cliché: “communication is key.” But it is, it is absolutely non-negotiable. While it would be awesome to know automatically what your partner’s needs are, it’s not realistic. We’ve gotten pretty good at communicating, I think; we’ll make sure to bring things up before they become a huge thing that leads to a fight. This way, we have discussions and occasional disagreements, and not fights, whether small or knock-down, drag-out. You’re not a mindreader, and your partner isn’t either. Say what you want and need, as clearly as you can, and be sure to require the same.

Change is inevitable.

It always strikes me as amusing when someone asks me, “But how can you stay with one person for the rest of your life?” This question assumes that people are always exactly the same, that they don’t grow and change. While at their core your partner is not likely to change dramatically, their experiences and learning, with and without you, will lead them to become many different people during your lives. You’ll change, too, and that’s good! People should grow and learn and change. Hopefully, you’ll learn and grow and change together, or in ways that are complementary.

Love is work.

By “work,” I mean that it takes conscious effort. It takes effort to meet someone’s needs. Sometimes you can’t give 100%, and that’s okay. Sometimes one partner has to give a little more – 125%, while you give 75% – but, ideally, it will eventually even out. Don’t fall for the “love is 50%-50%” lie. Love requires 100% from each of you. Sometimes you or your partner gives more, but it always adds up to 200%, because there are two people giving their all.

You are complete.

You are already complete. You are a whole, wonderful person. You don’t need another human being to make you into a “complete” human being. For lack of a better example, if you’re single and murdered, your murderer is still charged for the extinguishing of the life of a whole and complete human being. Don’t consider yourself “incomplete” without another person. It’s unhealthy and dependent. You need to be your own person, so that you can fully and wholly enter into a union. Would you want to be in a relationship with half a person? Acknowledge that you are your own, complete, whole person, and you can more fully love someone else.

Of course, I’ve learned more than this in four years. But, I believe these are the four most important things I’ve learned these four years. I hope they’re helpful, or enlightening, or validating.

Happy anniversary, love.

The Italian Dream

The Italian Dream

I want to live in Italy. I don’t really care where, as long as it’s near an airport and not too far from the coast. It would be easy to do soon, given the boyfriend’s job, if I found a job myself. I am, by virtue of my mother’s lineage, eligible for an Italian passport and dual citizenship, which would make the whole thing so much easier.

I don’t think I’d like to stay there indefinitely, but then again, maybe I would. It’s a discussion I don’t need to have yet. I would love to live there, in “sunny Italy.” I would be alone much of the time, but I could make friends, whether citizens or expats or both. My Italian language skills have increased by leaps and bounds, and I know if I lived there I could even speak passably. My reading, writing, and aural comprehension are decent, I think.

I can only think of three jobs as a native English speaker with elementary-intermediate Italian skills that could help sustain us: tutoring, nannying, and/or freelance writing. Of course, if we wanted to stay longer, I would inevitably learn more of the language, and could perhaps get a regular job, but I think we’d eventually end up returning to the States.

Have any of you lived abroad? What did you do for a job? What did you like about it? What didn’t you? Let me know in the comments!