You know when you have one of those never-ending dreams, that finally awakens you with a start? And you wonder, where the heck did that come from?!? Last night my dreams were filled with images of the end of the world. People banding together to channel the finite resources to those who needed it most. Slowly watching as the natural landscape dwindled, until the day turned to night, the earth slowly faded to black and gently spiraled away into the universe. It wasn’t violent or apocalyptic, just very sad to say goodbye to glorious Mother Earth.

Then the dog jumped on the bed and woke me up-first time I was happy to have her smiling face staring at me at 5am! My final thought before I was so rudely roused from my sleep was, “I have to do more to save our planet, I want to make a difference.” Upon awakening, my first thought was,  “No more pepperoni pizza before bedtime…”

So I found this great article from Wire and Twine: “50 Ways to Help the Planet”. It is filled with simple ideas that will preserve our finite resources, make us healthier and happier and keep Mother Earth spinning for the next millenium.

A few of my favorites, simple and effective:

1. CHANGE YOUR LIGHT
If every household in the United State replaced one regular lightbulb with one of those new compact fluorescent bulbs, the pollution reduction would be equivalent to removing one million cars from the road.

 2.TURN OFF  COMPUTERS AT NIGHT (I am sooo guilty of this one!)
By turning off your computer instead of leaving it in sleep mode, you can save 40 watt-hours per day. That adds up to 4 cents a day, or $14 per year. If you don’t want to wait for your computer to start up, set it to turn on automatically a few minutes before you get to work, or boot up while you’re pouring your morning cup ‘o joe.

3.DON’T RINSE
Skip  rinsing dishes before using your dishwasher and save up to 20 gallons of water each load. Plus, you’re saving time and the energy used to heat the additional water.

4.RECYCLE GLASS, PAPER, ALUMINUM, PLASTIC
Recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20 percent and related water pollution by 50 percent. If it isn’t recycled it can take a million years to decompose. Twenty recycled aluminium cans can be made with the energy it takes to manufacture one brand new one. Every ton of glass recycled saves the equivalent of nine gallons of fuel oil needed to make glass from virgin materials.

5.WASH IN COLD OR WARM   If all the households in the U.S. switched from hot-hot cycle to warm-cold, we could save the energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day. Only launder when you have a full load.

6.USE ONE LESS PAPER NAPKIN- OR USE CLOTH!
During an average year, an American uses approximately 2,200 napkins—around six each day. If everyone in the U.S. used one less napkin a day, more than a billion pounds of napkins could be saved from landfills each year. Same goes for paper towels. I have started using my cloth dish towels to clean the countertops with vinegar and water- not always, but I am making an effort. Switching to cloth will save a bundle! And you can do such creative things : )

7.WRAP CREATIVELY
You can reuse gift bags, bows and event paper, but you can also make something unique by using old maps, cloth or even newspaper. Flip a paper grocery bag inside out and give your child stamps or markers to create their own wrapping paper that’s environmentally friendly and extra special for the recipient.

8.SAVING WATER: BRUSH WITHOUT RUNNING & TAKE A SHORTER SHOWER
You’ll conserve up to five gallons per day if you stop the running water while you brush. Daily savings in the U.S. alone could add up to 1.5 billion gallons–more water than folks use in the Big Apple. Every two minutes you save on your shower can conserve more than ten gallons of water. If everyone in the country saved just one gallon from their daily shower, over the course of the year it would equal twice the amount of freshwater withdrawn from the Great Lakes every day

9.SECOND-HAND DOESN’T MEAN SECOND-BEST
Consider buying items from a second-hand store. Clothing. Toys. Furniture.  Second hand stores often sell these items in excellent condition, or sometimes requiring a bit of TLC. A little elbow grease goes a long way towards saving our resources! So much fun to refurbish, recycle, re-love an old piece of furniture.

10.RECYCLE  OLD CELL PHONES
The average cell phone lasts around 18 months, which means 130 million phones will be retired each year. If they go into landfills, the phones and their batteries introduce toxic substances into our environment. There are plenty of reputable programs, like Cell Phones for Soldiers where you can recycle your phone, many which benefit noble causes.

For loads of other great planet-saving ideas, go to The Mother Earth News. And remember to follow the Three R’s: Re-Cycle, Re-Purpose, Re-Love. Pledge to make every day Earth Day. Hope you have a great weekend, and don’t forget to turn off your computers when you leave your office  Susan

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…come sail away, come sail away with me. (Styx)  Exciting news!! For our anniversary, Coach presented me with a gift certificate from Community Boating Boston for sailing lessons!! Not really a surprise, since I had suggested that perhaps if someone needed to get me a gift for something…the surprise was that Coach is going to take them with me! He said, and I quote “I am not going to be on a sailboat with you if you are the only one who knows what’s going on”. hmmm. Now, If you are a devoted follower of my blog (which I hope you are : ), you are saying, “but, wait a minute, you have brand new kayaks!!” And you remember that recently we launched them-after a year in dry dock!- into Lake Quannapowitt. Other than Bartlet the dog taking a dunk in the drink, it was clear sailing, until I hit the deck in the driveway while unloading! But it was a pain in the butt loading the boats on the CRV roof, unloading them, kayaking, drying them off, loading them back on and then back off again to return to dry dock-phew!

So I thought, since we have a cute little yacht club right here in Wakefield, why not join?!? We could keep the kayaks there, take them for a paddle around the lake, and return them to their moor at the end of the day, have a cool one on the dock overlooking the lake before heading home.

So we took a visit to the Quannapowitt Yacht Club , the oldest inland boat club in America, founded in 1884. They even have regattas!! But alas, we discovered that they only accept sailboaters as members. Kayakers not welcome. But the clubhouse was kind of cute in a formica, 70’s kind of way, with a killer dock that stretches all the way around and has an unobstructed view of the lake in all its glory. The woman thought it was a little strange when I asked if we could join without having any sailboats. OK, so on to plan B. Not a big fan of those kayaks anyway, so let’s trade them for a nice little sailboat.

I had dreams of peacefully drifting along on a warm, sunny day

wind in my sails

glass of wine in hand as the day turned to evening

a totally peaceful way to spend a lazy summer afternoon.  And then if I got good enough, we could enter a race or two!

Perhaps I am destined for the Americas Cup? 

I could set the new world’s record for the oldest person to sail solo around the world! The youngest record is already held by Jessica Watson-way to go, Jessica!!

Tempting, but circling the earth,which is 70% water, would take awhile.  And I don’t think they have WiFi on the open ocean, so I may pass on that.  And there is always the fear of this…

In which case, I better look good when the rescuers come to pluck me out of the water. Soooo, I could get a very fashionable yellow slicker. I do watch Deadliest Catch, and they all wear them! But this one is super cute and functional too! And some really nice nautical shoes.

Perhaps a sailor outfit?  

This one’s not very practical for the open seas. Ahoy, matey!!

Love the brass buttons!  

This entire nautical theme from Project Lena Blog is awesome too! 

I am not sure, but I don’t think I could wear a PFD (personal flotation device) over this dress and be comfortable enough to be moving fore and aft (those are nautical terms, for the non-sailors among you)

OK, enough dreaming. Time to fill out my Adult Program Membership Application for Community Boating Boston! Anyone wanna buy some kayaks, cheap?!?  Hope you sail peacefully through your day… Susan

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Today Coach and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary. Is it possible that it has been 33 years?!? It seems like yesterday that we met at a local drinking establishment, sitting on a couple of bar stools, sharing some stories and a beer, and the rest, shall we say, is history. Weddings back then were smaller, more intimate ceremonies, without much of the production and style of weddings today. There were typically no “themes”- just a bride and a groom in a gown and tux, celebrating their love with family and friends. Yup, that’s me in the horse-drawn carriage on our way to Glen Magna Farms. My own version of Cinderella : )

Today’s weddings are oftentimes elaborate celebrations

where guests are treated to spectacular venues that are lavishly decorated with flowers

out-of-this-world lighting

“Country Pretty” styling

With table settings fit for a king

or queen…

Where guests are invited to join in the fun with photo booths

stylized food

and synchronized dance moves

Themes range from underwater dives

or above water vows with a view

African safaris (is this elephant the best mammoth?)

even a Cinderella Castle!

But through all the glitz and glamour, one theme remains constant.

Two people fell in love and chose to spend their lives together.

And what could be more spectacular than that?

Happy Anniversary Coach! 143me

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“It’s hot.” “Wow, it’s hot!” “Can you believe how hot it is!?!” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that in the past week… In the winter, we New Englanders are hardy stock. Ten feet of snow?! No problem!  I’ve got my boots and a shovel- let’s get to the mall! But when the thermometer tips 90+ for more than a few days, we tend to get a little wilted and cranky around here.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good 9,000 BTU air conditioner as much as the next girl, but going from my AC’d house to my AC’d car to my AC’d work and back home again, I start to long for some crisp, clean fresh air. Living within a stone’s throw of some of the most beautiful beaches on the North Shore, you would think that oceanside would be my preferred destination when the temp is approaching 100+.

But I have to admit, as much as I love the ocean to look at, I much prefer the clean, chlorinated, fake azure blue, no-fish-allowed water of a beautiful swimming pool.

Perhaps it is the childhood memory of that crunchy bite of a sandy wax-paper-wrapped tuna salad sandwich at Sandy Beach?

 Or the sunburned afterglow with a scratchy topical application of sand mixed with SPF 40 after a beach day under cloudy skies. Or being knocked to the ocean floor by a rogue wave with a strong undertow…and struggling to stand up, minus half of my bathing suit! Suffice to say I was on the wrong beach in Martha’s Vineyard for topless sun-bathing! Talk about a great white sighting…dundun, dundun…

So I went searching for some really cool pools to share with you.

Near a beach for the view without an undertow? Great.

On a tropical resort… this one’s in Hawaii

Would never be bored in Bora Bora!!

Or at this resort in Turks and Caicos 

At a villa in Tuscany…

To Infinity…

…and beyond!! 

Waterfire 

Add a bar…

…with a frosty tropical umbrella drink?

And then there’s this…apparently called the “Redneck Pool”. Pickup truck, plastic tarp, fill with water add a few beers. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures y’all! 

The best of both worlds…wave pools in Australia

The end to a perfect day in paradise 

Stay cool, everyone!!! Winter will be here before you know it! Susan

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For the past couple of years, Coach and I have been discussing the hot topic of replacing our “upstairs bath”. Living in an antique cape that did not come equipped with a “master bath” (heck, it didn’t even have a master bed), we have made do over the years with one tiny bath at the top of the stairs. The 9′ x 5′ bath that we inherited when we purchased our home had what I would refer to as an eclectic style-lol! Old dark grey bathtub, aqua porcelain tiles, beige toilet,  grey sink on stainless spindles, speckled linoleum floor tile. Seems like whatever the plumber had handy when something needed replacing, that’s what was installed.   Over the years, the D.I.M. (Do It Myself-because if I don’t, who the hell else will!?!) projects have included tearing out and replacing the aqua tiles with wainscotting, painting and wallpapering and painting again,  and replacing the linoleum with stick-down tiles. That one required a trip to the ER and a few stitches in my thumb. Time for a new bath, this time done right by the professionals!

There isn’t anything vintage or pretty about this room except for this floor grate and this faucet both of which I would like to keep.

I was fortunate to find these pretty glass tiles at a yard sale- $20 for 3 cases of 4 x 4’s!!

So I’ve got my start, time to find some inspiration. I’ve been searching for pictures, starting with Pinterest and Houzz, working my way over to Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn & Google Images, where I have seen the good, the bad and the very, very bad.

Seriously, a Christmas tree and two white shag rugs!?!? Santa’s boots would leave some pretty nasty footprints in that bath!

I have found that my eye is drawn to vintage style… And Bling.

And of course, I love color, but not this color!!  

Or this one…can  you imagine stumbling in there after a night of partying!?!? Talk about green around the gills!I have found a few baths that have my brain bubbling… this one is so country pretty~

This one is simply beautiful, but a bit too modern for my vintage home.Who wouldn’t want to have a long soak in this sun-filled space from Pottery Barn? Although this Stainless Lab Bath by Restoration Hardware is striking, I think it’s a bit too clinical for my space. I adore farmhouse vintage, but I worry that the rough, unvarnished surfaces may not clean well.

This is the one. The bath of my dreams. Colorful. Restful. Vintage look with marble and modern chrome finishes.But way too big for my space. Perhaps Coach would be open to taking down a wall…

Here’s hoping you make a splash today, no matter what you do!! Susan

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Welcome To Country Design Home!

Inspired. Rustic. New Country Style...in the suburbs. Because you don't have to live on a farm to create a warm and inviting country-styled home. Follow my DIY junkin' journey as I give tips of the trades and inspired fresh country design ideas to create your own Country Design Home.
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