Chasing Dreams

“Your OCD is showing!” a neighbor yelled to me on her daily stroll past my home. She’d caught me looking a little neurotic I’m sure, painting the freshly patched windowsills no one will ever notice. She couldn’t have known that this was just one task of many I had been ticking off in anticipation of selling the house that has been slowly wearing me down since I moved in. I was painting with purpose, damn it. But she called it. So this is how people see me, I thought. Determined, frenzied and maybe, just a little crazy. As if on cue, things I’d heard and held came to mind:

“Brooke, you only have one speed.” – Mom

“Your body has been in survival mode, and it shows.” – Doctor

“My counselor and I were talking about how I can’t sit still, and I thought of you!” – Friend

The things that people say, stick with us. And because we operate differently and see the world through our own unique lens, they can be very different from what we tell ourselves. I don’t like how I feel when I hear these things. And while these same words contain some good, it is my nature to focus instead on the negative aspects. Either way, these observations are not how I want to be seen, how I wish to be remembered or how I really want to live. On the other hand – these comments also stick:

“You may be on your own, but you are enough.” – Friend

“Be careful what you ask for. You usually get it.” – Family/Architect

“Man. When you decide to do something, you really go for it.” – Contractor who is now like family

Those words are positive and empowering, but the attributes they implicate can have a negative side. A day spent at the local ER with massive chest pains was an eye-opener and even more confirmation that life needed to be less stressful…immediately. As I sat next to an overdose patient waiting for my EKG results, I wondered if my attempt to embody Wonder Woman would end tragically in the crowded waiting room while my children sat at home expecting my return. Certainly, I didn’t intentionally wind up here anymore than my new friend Drunk Tank Tammy. Had I been completely ignoring my health, as I do with all my other needs? I knew I wasn’t blameless (cue voices again). Looking at Tammy, I realized she probably had a lot more fun getting here than I, and yet here we both were. Annoying.

Fortunately, my screens came back clean as a whistle, but it didn’t make the symptoms or experience any less real or less frightening. I had been forced to wonder if my kids would know how much I loved them. If I’d spent enough quality time with them, and I worried that they may have doubts about how important they were to me. Sadness, fear and insecurities flooded in and I was left thinking that they’d grow up questioning if I’d put them first.

That was my “aha moment” sitting right there in a row of nasty vinyl seats under horrible fluorescent lighting, I diagnosed my own illness and solidified my resolution to be DONE with the insane pace of my overachieving ass. It’s time for me to find purpose not in the pace, but in some peace. I realized I have been not only distracted, but exhausted by all the to-dos, bills and project management swirling around in my head.

Time for a simpler lifestyle so I can Namastayathome. I needed a home for my boys that is less project and more playtime, where living life is the focus and I could envision waving off the boys out the kitchen window as they hopped on their school buses.

I am done with trying to be all, have it all, do it all. Despite what “modern wisdom” tells us or whatever pop culture is pushing now, you cannot “do it all”. Something nearly always suffers. Something else has to give way and you never feel like you’re measuring up in all departments of life. Killing it at work, are you? P.S. Your family wants you home more. Celebrities succeed – but only with a team of nannies, housekeepers and chefs assisting them. Overly ambitious single moms just end up in ERs with episodes of angina. Take it from me, the dream of “doing it all” usually ends up more like a nightmare, if you’re doing it right.

Our lives don’t always end up looking like we envisioned them. Relationships fail, people come in and out of your life and plans go to shit sometimes. The home I loved and invested so much time, effort and money in, ended up not serving our family’s needs so well, but it will be perfect for another family. I was struggling to make it all work, suffering as a result and so did all the people around me, by default. Dreams can be as big as a house or as small as a gesture. I bought a dress for a special occasion that never came. That’s the trouble. I was trying to make life do what I wanted, and life had other plans.

So on my 43rd birthday, I celebrated the victory of being done. Done with our home renovation, done with chasing dreams that don’t want to be caught and done with the daily marathon I’ve been running. I had pictures taken to list our home for sale as a gift to myself. It ended up being a very happy birthday, surrounded by friends I can lean on. I’m very content with all of it. I’m 43 and happy to live another day. I find myself wondering…how’s Tammy doing?

P.S. I wore the dress that hung in my closet for two years for no reason at all except to mark the occasion and new beginnings. Seems like reason enough.

Distraction by Design: A Rainy Day Project

If you were to ask a native Pacific Northwesterner about when summer usually starts, you’ll likely hear that it doesn’t actually begin in June (as it does in the rest of the United States) but rather around July 5th. You’ll be reminded how green it is (not unlike the snot your body will likely produce from year-round pollen) and how all the wet weather keeps the novice firework artists from setting our state aflame on the 4th. Isn’t it perfect?

I’m here to tell you it’s not. Waiting all year for a summer that hasn’t begun is awful in a way that I cannot adequately describe. It’s torture, actually. And if most of us are honest, it’s hard enough getting through our wet, extended miserable gray winters and just about the ONLY thing that keeps us from absolute insanity are the idyllic summers that we have. You get one day of sunshine and everyone is smiling, greeting each other in the streets like old friends. The summers in the Pacific Northwest are more beautiful (and temperate) than anywhere else, when they do come. We don’t even need A/C ya’ll! It’s July 5th and as I type, I’m listening to rain as it continues to fall outside my window, which I’m considering jumping out of. Hanging by a thread here, Washington. Being that this is my blog, I don’t have to pretend to be Polly Positive about 9 months of rain. Check on your friends from out of state, people.

I may not always see the bright side of things, but by God, I try. When I cannot control my circumstances, be it the weather, or renovation delays, I do what I can to bring sunshine where it’s needed.

My choice distraction this week was my kids dungeon. That’s what I call it. No windows, no egress…they love it, and use it to sit in the dark and play video games. In actual fact, they’re Irish vampires, and I knew I was making the right choice bringing them here. Southern California would have certainly been a sentence of death by skin cancer for these opaque children.

As the renovation to the upstairs spaces brought with it plumbing challenges, we had to access said plumbing and run new pipes up the wall, and along the ceiling of the dungeon, thereby destroying the aesthetic. Which is not to say there was any kind of aesthetic to begin with. The inhabitants before us quite enjoyed dark wall color and dim lighting. Even the dated popcorn ceilings were painted gray. Gray, like the skies here. I’ll spare you pictures. What I will share, however, is what I call Distraction by Design.

My youngest little insisted that if I were going to paint his dark room white, that he wanted mountains. Black mountains. Really? So I dutifully scoured Pinterest for ideas and we came up with a compromise.

His Inspiration-Found on

Photo Credit:

And Mine. See what I mean? Sunshine, people. Everyone needs some.

Photo Source: Pinterest
The 3M Mountain Range

I decided to eyeball my mountains and go for it. In fairness to me, I DID start with black, but it felt too heavy. So he got one black mountain, and I headed back to Lowe’s for some Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams while the kids were away for the day. Since I was doing all the work, surely my co-designer wouldn’t mind a little splash of yellow left over from another project…

Sidenote: This is a 2-3 day project all in. You can get most work done in day, but have to be patient enough to allow the paint to fully dry and set. Patience is something I am continually working on. There is nothing like ripping fresh mountain off your wall to set you straight again.

Same clothes, different day, because well, rain. Hair up now, it’s time to get serious.

Once the mountains were dry, I removed most of the tape and lined my forefront mountains once again with 3M painters tape, making sure to seal the tape on with a moist rag-it helps prevent the paint from bleeding. After done, I filled in the white lines with continuous color.

I’m awaiting Amazon to deliver the moon & stars cutouts – which will also be Iron Ore for my child of the night. A couple yellow mountains were all he was willing to compromise on.

They got their updated gaming room, and I got a little distraction by doing. Everyone wins.


Affordable Design

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock recently, “mid-century modern” design seems to be everywhere these days. CB2Dot & Bo, AllModern, and

The thing I love most about the real stuff; the actual vintage mid-century modern furniture is that it’s incredibly well made. That’s the reason people are scrambling to collect it even today, and why it’s become so hard to afford.

One of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck is to invest in one or two vintage pieces that you just can’t live without, and add in repros and updated accessories to keep your spaces looking (and sometimes smelling) like Grandma’s house. Craigslist and local Facebook groups can be a great way to score reasonably priced vintage pieces.

As for the new stuff, Target’s new line Project 62 would make Grandma AND your girlfriends jealous. Finally, finally, finally, some decently made MCM pieces in a price range that many of us can actually afford. Project 62 is touted as being furniture for “smaller living” but there is nothing small about it. Depending on your personal style, you have the option of having both bling and total practicality as far as I can see.

Cobalt Arm Chair
Soriano Square Arm Channel Tufted Chair- Navy Velvet

Image Credit: Target

Geneva Glass Lighting
Geneva Glass Globes

Image Credit: Target

As for myself, when I stumbled upon the new line being set out in my local Target store I actually snagged the Geneva globe desk lamp off the shelf like a rioter-only I ran to the front and paid for it. Happily. Is $50 a lot for a task lamp? Yes for me, it is. But it was well worth it. The Geneva line has a timeless, high-end finish with a sturdy marble base. I imagine it will last me 50 years, just like the vintage stuff.

Esters Wood Arm Chair
Esters Wood Arm Chair

Image Credit: Target

If your style is more laid-back and you are a creature of comfort, Project 62 has something for you too. You need only look. Esters Wood Arm Chair has gone over so well, it’s currently unavailable online (a/k/a sold out).

Check out the Mid-Century Metal Wall Décor for 54.99. Beats the pants off of investing $300-$1000 for a Curtis Jere sculpture that would likely be your untimely end in the case of an earthquake.


Image Credit: Target

All of the sudden, I feel like my entire serveware game needs an upgrade. I may not EVER have dinner parties, but if I did, I’d definitely need a marble cheese slicer. No, seriously, that might be going on the Christmas list. Maybe if I had the cheese slicer I’d have more parties. Target is the answer to all life’s big conundrums. (Damn you, Target.)

Target Run

This last photo is actual proof that I can’t stay out of Target, try as I may. I even shove my children into the baskets and make them carry all the things out. I must have all the things!!! Project 62 has given even this vintage-loving gal just another reason to go. You should too.

Curating a Mid Century Modern Master Bedroom

The word “curate”  is defined by as to pull together, sift through, and select for presentation, as music or website content: “We curate our merchandise with a sharp eye for trending fashion,” the store manager explained. features many a “treasury” “curated” by its members. Usually they’re a collection of pictures that appeal to that person, or a grouping of some sort by color or type of furniture. I’m here to tell you it’s a lot easier to curate a bunch of photos online than it is to actually FIND and place those items in your home; especially when dealing with vintage furnishings. It takes a good eye – but more importantly, patience.

I’m no interior designer. Although I’d like to think I have a good eye for things, many times designing in your own home is a case of trial and error….moving stuff around, or starting from scratch. It’s taken me a while to curate our master bedroom, and to me, it’s not quite done, but we’re getting there. Over the past 2 years, I’ve found things here and there to make our master a place for peace, rest and comfort.

Here it is at a glance. Nothing fancy, but comfortable, and good enough for us.
Here it is at a glance. Nothing fancy, but comfortable and good enough for us.

The colors I used are light blue, green and variations of the two with some soft browns and amber hues as accents. Who knows if this is a good color combo according to the experts, but it seems to work out fine.

I found this fantastic lamp about a year ago on It goes perfectly to tie in with my Adrian Pearsall chair.
I found this fantastic lamp about a year ago on It goes perfectly to tie in with my Adrian Pearsall chair.

Grandma's Credenza, and an old tube radio that was a gift from my mother at our trip to the Long Beach Veteran's Stadium Flea Market.
Grandma’s Credenza, and an old tube radio that was a gift from my mother at our trip to the Long Beach Veteran’s Stadium Flea Market.

Adrian Pearsall Chair (one of my only "designer" pieces") alongside a vintage Syroco clock from
Adrian Pearsall Chair (one of my only designer pieces) alongside a vintage Syroco clock from

Morgan MCM painting
Morgan MCM painting found at Goodwill

The painting above was a little something extra from my thoughtful husband this Christmas. We were in Goodwill and I spotted it, thinking it would go great with the colors in our bedroom. This particular store doesn’t usually have mid-century pieces, so I was surprised to see it….still framed and in excellent vintage condition. It was a bit expensive for Goodwill, so I passed on it….but  later my husband snuck back to the store to surprise me with it.

Someday I’d love to have swag lamps on either side to maximize our small side tables, but for now, the Marshall’s bubble lamps will do. It can’t ALL be vintage, right?


Vera Sheets found at a local estate sale.
Vera Sheets found at a local estate sale.

The bed spread isn’t my favorite, but I love the vintage Vera sheets. I found these at an estate sale hosted by FindersKeepers.  I’m not usually a pattern fan, but these seem to fit right in with the scheme.  I originally bought them for our guest bedroom, but brought them home to discover they were king sized.  Apparently dumb luck can also play a part in design. They come in different colors and can also be found on (Here’s a link to my version online from favorite Etsy seller heartkeyologie.)  I think as soon as I can, I’ll be ordering a set in green.

The bed? Well, suffice it to say it works just fine and my husband isn’t a fan of change. While I’d prefer a vintage frame and king sized headboard….this might be one thing I have to compromise on to keep the peace. After all, that’s what we’re going for here….in this lovingly curated space;  peace and quiet.











Best of 2013 Midcentury Modern Design

One of my favorite sites, featured the most popular pics/posts in Midcentury Modern design for 2013. I’d like to share that post with you (the pictures are to die for). I know it’s provided me with some great design ideas in the new year…

General contractors, home builders, and more ∨

Ideas for your living spaces, lights and landscape design.
Search for fun counter stools, clocks, sectionals and storage dressers to spice up your basement.

Design Post of the Week

I subscribe to many mid-century blogs, and always appreciate great material and inspiring photos. This week, I’d love to share with you this post featured on that’s overflowing with both:

Mid-Century Modern – Doesn’t have to be stuffy

I see so many mid-century modern homes that look, well, cold. Cold, and stuffy.  Here’s a perfect of example of how mid-century modern design can be clean, but fun and colorful.