It is true that I am a product of the 60’s and as such I freely admit to my love of the boob tube! I love comedies, detective mysteries/dramas, and of course the food network!

I totally love comedies that make you think a bit; those are cleverly written and engage the viewer by relating to the everyday struggles that we all experience. I think it makes your own struggles easier to deal with and in a more positive mood. Some of my favorite comedies are Modern Family , The Big Bang Theory, and the ever classic program about nothing, Seinfeld!

One type of television programming that I really don’t find entertaining is all of the “reality” shows. The very name is an oxymoron – these people are not trained actors, and as far as I can tell they do not even have any kind of talent, experience or employment in the REAL world! I really feel that these kinds of programs do the entire American population a huge disservice. By that I mean they are representative to what is our culture as other countries see it.

But, I digress. With the infinite number of cable channels available today it is so easy to get caught up surfing for the entertainment de jour! Weekend mornings are devoted to the Food Network! I love to cook and try new recipes and frequently find myself downloading a recipe most recently watched. There is another network that my kids tease me about watching – Lifetime. Or as they call it the crying channel – as it does bring out my more emotional side.

As an Interior Designer I suppose it would be a sin of some sort to admit to watching HGTV. But I do watch from time to time – not so much the decorating shows – I like to watch the real estate shows where the couples are looking for 2nd homes in Europe or Mexico. It’s interesting to me to be able to see how different cultures design and value, their living spaces.

I have found myself getting caught up in some of the night time dramas, like Gray’s Anatomy and Brothers and Sisters. They can easily become predictable and if/when that happens I’ll be surfing again.

My boyfriend, who has the patience of a saint, humors me and watches along with me while making silly comments and pretending he is all caught up in the show too. He prefers the news networks; CNN, MSNBC and all the other political ones too zzzzzzzzzz… oh sorry, faded out there for a minute. I humor him and his programming choices when necessary.

I hope I haven’t bored you all to death by now. I guess you are all starting to get to know me a little better by reading about my tastes in music, books, films and now TV! I promise to get along with much more interesting posts regarding design and fashion and other aspects of my life.

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Day 3 — Your favorite book –

Lately I’ve been into the murder mysteries. I used to read all the romance novels; but that got stale. Ya know, girl meets boy, they split up, and then they get back together… blah, blah, blah… Maybe I finally I figured out that real life just wasn’t like that.

I really like the all the Scarpetta mysteries by Patricia Cornwell and think I’ve read most of them. Another fun series is the Stephanie Plum mysteries by Janet Evonovich; they are up to number fifteen! I think this series would make a great made for TV series! I even have some of the actors selected! I did read recently that they are doing a movie with Katherine Heigl in the lead – I think Sandra Bullock would have been a better pick. Guess we shall have to wait and see…

I get my books from my mom, her community library at her senior center, or from friends. Not to mention I do a great deal of my reading online. Where do you get your books? Do you ever buy any? If so – do you buy online from Amazon or do you do the actual bookstore thing? I like going to the bookstore and browsing with a cup of java. My library; the Clinton-Macomb Library was built in 2003 and is the largest library in Macomb County! I could spend an afternoon there!

I’ve done some of the self-help books. Like “He’s Just Not That Into You”by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. It was good for a laugh, but seriously I think most of that advice you already know, you just need to read it over and over so it will sink in! hahaha… The last one I actually bought after a recent string of bad luck with men was Steve Harvey’s Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Again, it was more common sense laid out in a very humorous way.

Of course I read tons of design publications, magazines, blogs etc… that’s how I keep up.
Some of my favorite magazines are Interior Design, Dwell and Contract Design. Some of the fashion mags I like are Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar; these keep me up to date on the latest trends in colors and patterns and styles.

The blogs I read run the gambit from interior design to graphics to home and family.  One of my favs is written by a gal that calls herself The Pioneer Woman. She writes about family, photojournalism, cooking and fashion! Plus she lives in Oklahoma with a cowboy hubby she calls her Marlboro Man! I think I’ve already gone over my love of cowboys-right? Oh ok, ok… I won’t bore you with any more cowboy stuff – at least not on this post! Muhahahah…

Westerns, Period Pieces, War Movies, Indie Films, Comedies

Like music, my tastes are all over the genre map. I do have a bit of cowgirl in me so can’t pass up a good western, yes, even the spaghetti westerns staring Clint Eastwood or John Wayne. Did you know they have remade True Grit? Saw it last weekend and it is Oscar worthy!

Oh, and being a lover of history I will relate to any period movies like Pride and Prejudice. History also includes war movies too! Probably the best one yet, in my personal opinion, has to be Shindler’s List. I know it’s pretty raw; but so was the Holocaust.

On to Indie Films, Independent Films for you novices – hmmm… anything that has a true story background. Did you know that The Taxi Driver was released as an Indie film? Also I really think you get the whole experience by watching an Indie film at a historic theatre! There are a few around town that get me feeling all artsy.

Comedies – Gosh, where to begin? Some of the best physical comedians are my favorite, like Jim Carey as Ace Venture, Pet Detective! Or Chevy Chase – best all time holiday movie – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, it’s become a family tradition. I even love some of the high school stupid comedies, like Harold and Koomar go to White Castle.

All of the above are most certainly better with a kid pack! (insert pic) Do you know what a kid pack is? Ask for it the next time you visit a MJR theatre. It’s a way that I can have movie popcorn and soda without straying too far from my diet!

Day 1 – Favorite Song

I’ve decided to take the plunge and try more of this blogging thing! My dear daughter, Misty sent me this 30 day blog challenge to get me started. And while I promise to get through all 30 days, I cannot guarantee that all the days will be in succession. But you will get all thirty days… eventually!

The first challenge is about music and my favorite song – how apropos that it is the holiday season and we are inundated with holiday music! Gee, I think some of the radio stations started playing it November 1st! While I do like holiday music, I appreciate it more when it actually is played during the holiday season – in my mind that would be from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

So let me begin with my all time favorite song. It makes me stop and think. Actually many of their songs make you think. The Beatles, “In My Life”. But I also like “Yesterday”. I always thought that they were visionaries; way ahead of their time. Maybe it was all the drugs they did that gave them super powers to see the future. Or maybe is it that the future is really just a repeat of the past somehow?

I really do love all different types of music. My dad used to listen to jazz, blues and both of my parents loved country. I remember thinking how square/lame that music was. But now I love those genres. We had the old hifi stereo console that took up the whole wall of the living room. It had an FM radio! and a turn table and storage for lps!

I love to dance; all kinds of dancing; swing, hip hop, line dancing and even square dancing! So if you can dance to it I like it! Lately I’ve been digging the new Pink song, “Raise Your Glass”. A live band still trumps a DJ in my mind anyway, maybe that dates me some; don’t care. I love the drums and wanted to learn how to play when I was a kid – my parents put the kibosh on that!  So these days I’m into the air drums! Hahaha…

What kind of music gets you going? Makes your day and keeps you motivated?

DIFFA Results!

I got a call from my friend and President of IDCFC, Interior Designers Coalition for Change, Carolyn Dwyer,  in July asking if I would be the Project Manager for the DIFFA Dining by Design event held in Detroit on August 14th. In order to garner more recognition and make use of her wonderfully vast knowledge with these types of events, IDCFC paired up with Shirley Maddalena of Maddalena Design.

I was so excited to have something to keep my mind busy that I said YES! So… first thing every morning after my radiation treatments, (I wrote about my recent diagnosis of breast cancer here) I set to work on organizing the paper work for the entry forms, team members and vendors! We had only 6 weeks to pull it off and boy did we ever! We met every week and gave our status reports! I was in my element – being the manager! (or the general as my brothers call me) Hey – I have 3 brothers; someone has to tell them what to do!

Everyone had a job to do and some duties we all shared, like the origami balls! It was like a knitting circle only origami!  The install day was quickly approaching, but not without challenges. Our first printer, backed out at the last minute and the vendor that we counted on for chairs and benches could not commit. The carpeting was lost in the mail. And on the day of install the floral designer came with an entirely different view of our concept! Yikes! After 2 more attempts, the centerpiece was declared finished!   There were of course other minor details that always need to be address during an install – lighting, curtain rods and additional accessory pieces to complete the concept.

But thanks to our crack team of experienced, dedicated designers, fabricators and lets’ not forget our better halfs and personal support teams that we are all so fortunate to have stand beside us during these crazy projects we get ourselves into, we pulled it off in record time and received fabulous feedback from all who attended the event.

Over the three day event, approximately $50,000 was raised for MAC, Michigan Aids Coalition. Not too shabby for a first time effort. The Detroit Home Magazine, will be featuring a write up on it in their upcoming issue. DIFFA has been in existence for 13 years now. This is the first time Detroit was asked to participate with the big boys, New York, San Francisco and Chicago to name a few. Next year is predicted to be even bigger and better! And I can’t wait!

Whew… I’ve had a crazy summer!

For those of you who actually read my beginning posts – Thank you! And for those of you who were hanging on for more – sorry. I’ve been a bit busy getting back on my feet from a very surprising diagnosis of breast cancer on June 9th! I know right? You’re saying you – miss healthy eater, gym goer, yoga lady? You could have knocked me over with a feather. Turns out it was Stage 1a, in situ – if you read my fabulous daughter, Misty’s blog; then you might already know a little bit. I myself just haven’t been ready to talk about it yet. I was/am unemployed and fortunately had cobra insurance thru Mr. Obama at a reduced rate. To think I actually thought about not getting cobra and simply waiting till I was employed again w/medical coverage. Gees… what would have happened if I had waited another year? I shudder to think.

Anyway – I underwent a lumpectomy on June 18th along with a lymph node biopsy, followed up by 6 weeks of radiation. This is the standard procedure for the type of breast cancer that they found. All in all I’d have to say I tolerated the surgery and treatment very well with little to no side effects. My doctors said that’s because I was in such good health otherwise. I have had to begin taking a daily medication, Arimidex, to block any remaining estrogen that I might still have after undergoing menopause several years ago because my tumor was estrogen receptive. I’ve never had to take medication and now I also have to take Fosomax because the Arimidex robs me of much needed calcium. Oh yeah, I also have to take calcium supplements and boost my calcium intake in all that I eat! One of the side effects, among many others, is weight gain! That along with not being able to workout like I did and being unemployed has lead to me gaining 10 lbs! But not to fear – I’ve started walking and riding my bike (weather permitting) and found a yoga channel on my cable tv!

I decided to go public on my blog because I thought it might be like taking baby steps. And… because I am still partially unemployed I was afraid that if potential employers discovered that I had breast cancer they might not be so excited to hire me, much less interview me! My industry is a very small community and everyone knows everyone and everyone’s business! Maybe it was the fact that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month that I felt compelled to spill my guts. Or it might be the fact that I lost my oldest and dearest best girlfriend to breast cancer last month too. That was so very hard – we had known each other for over 40 years. She was first diagnosed 9 years ago and had a single mastectomy with a reconstruction only to have it resurface 4 years later in the same breast. Then a lumpectomy and more chemo & radiation and she was good for over 3 years. But the last time they found it, it had traveled into her bones, and eventually everywhere. But she continued to take treatments; sure that they would find a cure and because her boys needed her. I hope and pray that she is at peace now and without pain. I didn’t even want to tell her. I thought she had enough of her own battles to fight. Needless to say she was furious at me – telling me that we all have to stick together; to support each other and get through it together. I realize only now that she was right and I’m going to come clean and let the world know and let the chips fall where they may!

So… as a design associate of mine says…. ONWARD!!!

Volunteering is such a rewarding opportunity for me. I have been very fortunate to be able to participate in a few worthy causes, both personally and professionally. Last year was a big birthday for me and my kids helped me celebrate by throwing me a wonderful birthday party at the Black Finn restaurant in Royal Oak, MI!  I was so not looking forward to opening all those silly, wasteful gag gifts! Instead, we asked for donations for the local woman’s shelter, Haven. We were very proud to send them a check for over $200.00! That was the best birthday gift I have ever received to date!

Recently I’ve joined with other interior designers to form a new non-profit, IDCFC, Interior Design Coalition for Change. The funds we raise will help commercial projects that have a positive impact on their surrounding community. Our first project began in October for Ferncare – a free clinic for the uninsured in Ferndale, Michigan. Since then we have held fundraisers to collect for the remodel of a donated building that we hope to have completed by the fall of this year. We began the 2010 fund raising with a Spring Fling that was held at Blumz in Ferndale, MI on April 15th. We marketed it as network/fundraiser w/suggested donations of $5.00. This year we did a “craft”- ‘cause that’s what we do… The craft was to paint a “tile” for a custom wall paper mural that will be installed at the clinic. Three designs were chosen and will become a custom wallpaper mural. A big thank you to everyone for participating and of course congratulations to our 3 winners; Jill Slavensky , Jean Bean and Susan Buckley.

On April 29th and 30th I helped set up and run the 2nd Bi-Annual Youtique at the Michigan Design Center. This is a boutique held by local designer artists to raise funds for IDCFC.  The profits from this spring’s Youtique will go to help complete our project for Ferncare. Thursday night was our networking night – we had a terrific turnout to kick off the event! Friday was a full day of sales and donations! The final tally isn’t in yet – but we are confident that we did very well. And the vendors were happy and making sales as well as future sales!

So… to all of you reading this – VOLUNTEER! It’s so much fun to help others.