Friday, March 05, 2021

Spring Decor: Big Wall Decor and Online Interior Design

 

Big Wall Decor: Carpe Diem

This blog post might seem a little odd.  After 15 years of blogging, I found out I've earned $99.06 from AdSense, but they don't pay out until I make $100.  Last month, I made 2 cents, so at that rate, it will take about another 4 years to make the needed 94 more cents.  Time to experiment! (And if you're so inclined, feel free to click on those lovely ads you may see more of annoying you throughout this post.)

I wanted to blog this week about my Spring decorations, so after doing a Keyword search, I discovered the top keywords that advertisers would pay more for.  

I'll go ahead and see if I can work the top 6 keywords into this post as much as possible:

  1. skull candle
  2. big wall decor
  3. peeper
  4. online interior design
  5. natural spring
  6. decorated
This is kind of an interesting blogger's challenge. We'll see how many times I can use these keywords in my post. Here goes..

I had fun this week switching from Valentine Decor to Spring Decor! I'll save the skull candle decor for Fall.  I received a wonderful big wall decor surprise from Matt and Stella in the mail today: a Carpe Diem wall hanging!

That big wall decor can be used all year round both for my online interior design as well as for my exterior interior designCarpe Diem is my mantra, after all, so I can use the photo for online interior design both on this blog as well as on my CarpeDiemDay.com blog.

Enough about the big wall decor, though. Let me give your peeper a peek at how I've decorated for a natural spring.

No skull candles, but plenty of natural spring decor in this online interior design 

Decorated with fairy lights, your peepers get a festive treat

This online interior design includes a personalized tiny big wall decor: Yvette's Fairy Garden 

My seasonal tree decorated for natural spring

Let your peepers feast on the signs of a natural spring popping up all over! 


Monday, March 01, 2021

Happy Refired not Retired Day

 

This morning when I asked Alexa, "Alexa, what special day is it?" she answered that there were 54 informal holidays! FIFTY-FOUR!!  It was even too much for Alexa. (She only talked about Women's History Month.) Maybe we have just gone a little too far with these holidays. 

For each "special holiday" that's out there, Carpe Diem Day gets a little more lost in the crowd. Oh well. Even if Carpe Diem Day never gets famous, it's still the most important -- the matriarch, if you will, of all these other 'special days' that people are seizing.

With 54 days to sift through, I was thinking I'd be fine with embracing just another lazy Monday (celebrated by listening to the Bangles and being grateful that I no longer was having Manic Mondays) when I came across this one for March 1rst: Refired not Retired Day.

As I read the description, I found it was created by Phyllis May who retired (or should I say "refired" at the age of 55 in 1998 and started a new life in Key West, Florida.

Now one of the things that I've always liked best about social media is reading some story and then getting to know the person behind the story. I immediately connected to Phyllis May on LinkedIn (who dubs herself, "The Fiery Retiree") and bought her book: Refired not Retired: Ignite Your Zest for Life.

Retirement and living a "Fiery" Carpe Diem Life is one of the topics I'm most interested in! In fact, one of my many project ideas has been to write my own book about this phase of life, especially as a single... maybe a sequel to The Laptop Dancer Diaries (without the embarrassing dating stories.)

I'll be curious what Phyllis has to say in her book and I'm hoping I'll be able to connect with her on my Carpe Diem Connections Podcast! Maybe the next season will be about being "Refired not Retired"!


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Carpe Diem Examples for my Carpe Diem Day Party

I've been really promoting Carpe Diem Day throughout February. I admit, I've had ups and downs in my mood throughout the month.  I've had a lot of mixed feelings about throwing another virtual party, but Super Carpe Diem Woman does not let insecurities stop her, so the party is on.

I'm especially grateful for the people who are attending this soiree since I know, even I, am tiring of virtual get-togethers... especially when I don't know most of the other people. At least with real parties, you can hover around the food table or imbibe in party drinks when you don't know people. With virtual parties, I spend most of the time evaluating my appearance, constantly adjusting the angle of the camera so as not to show my wrinkly neck. 

I'm trying to keep the "theme" and "games" for this party very easy and optional so as not to lose those coveted friends and family who are planning on coming.   I'm also trying to figure out how I can keep people entertained, yet not put them on the spot. Virtual party hosting is a tough gig!

I've decided on this activity:

Each guest comes up with a "Carpe Diem" Event or Moment, real or fiction, that they've had in the past year and tell the rest of the group about it.  The rest of the group can ask questions and then mark whether we think the person is lying or telling the truth.  (This is sort of a variation of Two Truths and a Lie.")

Each person that gets the right answer gets a point.  The story-teller gets a point for each person he/she fools.  Keep track of your own points, that don't really matter anyway, because it's just a game!

Now for all those people who are thinking: "How could we have any Carpe Diem Events or Moments in the past year?" I (rather indignantly) reply: My definition of "Carpe Diem" is living life fully in spite of the challenges you're facing! Carpe Diem Day was inspired by my friend who had ALS and he was living fully with much greater challenges than a pandemic.

For each of the people who have RSVP'ed 'Yes' to my party, I offer up these examples of Carpe Diem experiences we've had together in this past year.  In many cases, I had a hard time picking just one.. there were so many! I look forward to many more post-pandemic!

Mom (Sacramento, CA)

Mom, I'm so happy that you will be at my 61rst birthday party! Every phone call with you is a "Carpe Diem" experience for me, but I'm especially proud that you are embracing technology and using Zoom! I was so excited when we had the entire family together on Zoom for Easter! I also enjoy that we can do our own version of "Book of the Month" club!

Mom and I on a Zoom call doing our own "Book of the Month" Club


Michele (West Hills, CA)

Michele, you've been my biggest supporter throughout my life. Whether I'm up or down, you listen. You help me think through challenges and celebrate my joys. I'm especially grateful for the many long "walk and talks" we've had, both venting (when necessary) and getting exercise! I missed our annual in-person winter visit, but was happy to enjoy so many long talks, including this New Year's Eve celebratory chat.  It's a "Carpe Diem moment" for me whenever you text me a picture of purple flowers or anything!

New Year's Eve with Michele and Ray

Tony (Gainesville, FL)

Tony, I just love how much I've gotten to know you through Facebook and your awesome participation in my Carpe Diem Day activities!  I love your positivity, creativity and your willingness to seize every day! A Carpe Diem moment for me was your excellent entry into the National Umbrella Day contest! Congratulations on the win! Looking forward to more Carpe Diem events to come!

Fun and creative umbrella picture from Tony!

Jack(ster) (San Francisco, CA)

Jackster! I always love your quirky sense of humor and things you do to surprise me. The candy bar that you sent to me and Becky for Easter and the chocolate popcorn for Christmas were both Carpe Diem surprises. I'm impressed how you're always pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying new things! I'm especially grateful for your participation in my Summer Virtual Carpe Diem party and my January New Month's Eve Virtual Party!

Jack at my Summer Virtual Carpe Diem Party


Jaka (Lafayette, CO)

Jaka, you are such a sweet and talented friend! Remember on New Year's Day in 2019 when you saved me from freezing to death? And I so enjoy your music..  especially, "Yellow"! But the "Carpe Diem" moment I'll remember from 2020 is when we discovered this amazing patch of wildflowers on a hike. Such beauty!



Jaka and I find a patch of beautiful wildflowers at Four Mile Canyon Creek



Mary (Boulder, CO)

Mary, I feel so lucky for all the hikes and adventures we got to share since we've met. I love your adventurous spirit and how you are so willing to accept my invitations, whether it's for a silly scavenger hunt mission, a virtual party, or a challenging hike. My Carpe Diem memory with you was our CluedUp game we played as "Witchy Women" in Boulder on Halloween.  It was such a sunny afternoon and this lunch on Pearl Street with mimosas was the first time eating out in months!

Pearl Street lunch on Halloween after playing CluedUp Mystery game

Cathy (Louisville, CO)

Cathy, I always feel like I'm having a "Carpe DiYUM Experience" when we're visiting on your beautiful patio. You're such a talented gardener, musician, cook, and hostess. You always make me feel special with your healthy recipes and treats.  Your whimsical garden decor, flowers, and thoughtfulness always fill me with joy.  Carpe Diem experiences with you include seeing your art exhibit on display at Paul's, you cutting my bangs, picnicking in my back yard, and of course, wine and chocolate!

Wine and chocolate in Cathy's beautiful patio garden

Lee (Delmar, Maryland)

Lee, you are my newest friend in this little Carpe Diem crowd, and such an absolute delight! How lucky am I that you joined my Carpe Diem Connections Facebook group and quickly became an MVP! Or should I say, the Marvelous M'DLee!  Your playful and creative photos, emails, and posts have captured my heart. And, of course, your Carpe Diem celebration and romantic story move me to tears. I'm so honored to know you and that I will have a piece of Brian's legacy to treasure.

M'DLee telling the story of her Carpe Diem Day plans via a "bed-in" interview!

Sonja (Boulder, CO)

Sonja, you have so many talents - you're incredible gardens and hospitality make me feel like the queen when I visit your home. And I'm in awe of your gorgeous home-made cards, artistic talent, and organizational skills!  I feel so lucky that we had many Carpe Diem moments together despite the pandemic...  Enjoying Grease at the park, your garden party, and making "friendship coins," Virtual GGG meetings, or receiving one of your one-of-a-kind cards in the mail. 


On Sonja's patio enjoying all of her talented creations!



Lisa and Steve (Apple Valley, MN)

Lisa and Steve, how lucky that we got a visit in Mexico in January for Mallory's wedding before the Pandemic hit! It was such a bummer that we didn't get to see each other for the annual August Island reunion, but I feel excited about our upcoming plans! My "Carpe Diem" moment with you both during the pandemic was on New Year's Eve! Always fun to talk and laugh whether it's on the phone, via text, on Zoom, and..  soon.. in person!!

Lisa and Steve on New Year's Eve

Michael & Paula (Louisville, CO)

Michael, how many years has it been? 15? Every Friday at 7am! I'm glad that this pandemic didn't stop our long-standing weekly tradition. Maybe we don't order up Starbuck's coffees these days, but I can always count on you for my Friday dose of deep critical thinking conversing! It's a tradition that I hope continues for the rest of our lives!  I certainly consider every Friday morning a Carpe Diem experience as I savor our conversations, whether we're talking about something serious or silly. And so glad to have my "sister-wife," Paula, in my life as well.

Michael and I on our Virtual Starbucks Friday Morning call



Becky (Sarasota, FL)

Oh, Chica... What would I have done without you this past year? I feel so lucky to have been under your welcoming roof when the world was first under lock-down. You provided the calm to keep me grounded. Your wisdom is invaluable and you've helped me grow in so many ways.  The number of "Carpe Diem moments" I experienced with you are too many to mention. Your support, your playfulness, your advice, and your deep understanding are unparalleled. "Being with BB" has proven to be a priceless experience that will stay with me forever. 

Becky ready for a Virtual Dance Party!

Nancie (Hawaii)

Nancie, I can always count on you to play my games, participate in my virtual parties, and be 'all in' for fun! You fill my inbox with humor and always have your eyes open for a great travel deal. I can't wait for our trip to Mexico in November! Even though you had to get up early to attend, here you are at my Summer Virtual Carpe Diem Party. 

Nancie at the Summer Carpe Diem Party

Rebecca Ritter (Denver, CO)

Rebecca, I feel so lucky to have had your friendship for so many years! We only saw each other once in person this year -- when we went to see this field of sunflowers...  only to find out they were mostly dead. But so nice that you were willing to go check it out with me. (This year, we'll get there earlier!) Even though, I don't have any pictures, I've appreciated the long phone calls, texts, and your sweet and thoughtful friendship.

Sunflower viewing with Rebecca



Laura (Boulder, CO)

Besides her day job as software developer, Laura is also a very talented musician and writer.  Before Covid hit, I had the opportunity to see her many times playing her bass at various music events. She also loves horses and travel. My "Carpe Diem" moment with her during Covid was at my New Year's Eve party, but I know of some more exciting happenings in Laura's life. I'll stay quiet about those in case she wants to use one of those at the party1

New Year's Eve with Laura

Stella (and maybe Matt) (Denver, CO)

Stella, my daughter-in-law, as well as my son, Matt, have been an amazing source of support for Carpe Diem Day and everything else in my life! I've met regularly with Stella over Zoom all year, often to study Spanish, but also to get her advice on everything from social media to real-estate investing. She's a super-bright and thoughtful young woman who goes way above and beyond in everything she does.  We haven't been in person together since the lock-down, but I'm so grateful for our weekly virtual visits.

New Year's Eve! I'm wearing the creative "Carpe" Diem hat that Stella made for me!

Adam or "Q" (Boulder, CO)

Q! We got to have many 'Carpe Diem experiences' with, even during this past year.  You celebrated National Cheesecake Day with me with a picnic in my back yard, National Curmudgeon and National Deep Thinker Day with me at Boulder Creek, and... most importantly, Carpe Diem Day, by bringing me sushi for lunch on my special day! Thank you for your quirkiness and always being there. I know you don't like to smile for the camera, but I know you're smiling inside (and I'm smiling inside and out!)



Bill (Santa Clara, CA)

Bill, I'm so impressed with your creativity with all you do! Your cards throughout the years are treasured and your generosity with any of my events, whether it's raising money for a cause, participating in a virtual party, or meeting up for dinner when we're in the same city.  Even though we didn't get to see each other in person this year, it's always a Carpe Diem moment for me when I hear from you. I'm always so happy to get your annual "Walk In Her Shoes" invitation and love the picture to show you did it!






As I've written this blog post I realize how truly blessed I am to have these amazing people in my life.  "Seizing the Day" does not have to be about seeing new exotic places or experiencing rare new things. It can be simply savoring the moments of love and connection we get from the people in our lives.

Carpe Diem!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

RSVPeeves

 

I’m usually very Polyanna-ish on my blog. I’m a big advocate for positivity, so I try and practice what I preach and not whine about little pet peeves.  On the other hand, I’ve noticed that I get the most attention (or hits) when my posts are negative. So today I’m going rogue and I’m going to complain full force about something that’s irritated me for years.  We’ll see if it works on getting me any more shares, follows, or comments than usual.  This is a very low bar, since I tend to only get spam comments on blog posts these days.  But that’s another peeve for another post.


My current peeve: What is up with our culture and RSVP’s? Maybe it’s a generational thing. I hate to sound like an uppity old lady telling people to “do the polite thing”..  I have no wish to lecture people on proper etiquette.  I’d much rather be the laid-back “It’s cool” kind of person in response to the lack of RSVPs I typically get when I host an event. But the truth is, I’m not laid back or cool about it, especially if I’ve requested RSVPs.


This was a problem well before Covid hit. I have long been insecure about attendance to the various parties I’ve hosted.  However, as an enlightened woman (and very experienced in rejection due to online dating) I’ve written quite a bit about this topic.


In So You Don't Get an Email Response - Big Deal!

 I very wisely wrote:


People don't RSVP for parties. People don't respond when you ask for a favor. People don't respond when you invite them to lunch. You start thinking your friends don't really care about you. They'd rather play Farmville on Facebook with their 538 friends than respond to a personal invitation from you. Yeah, you see them out there updating their status with [insert random trivial Facebook status update here] so obviously it's not a question of being too busy and obviously they're on their computer. They just care more about chit-chatting about nothing on Facebook than spending time with you!


If the above is the kind of thing that goes through your head when you don't get a response, you're falling into victim mode. You're taking it personally... making their lack of response all about you. It could be they are just really bad at managing their email. Or maybe they figure you have lots of friends, and they're just one of a crowd to you. Pick up the phone. Let them know they are special to you before you get bent out of shape being upset that you are not special to them. Always start by giving the benefit of the doubt to the person you are feeling rejected by.



In Confidence is the Key to Success

 I wrote again about my desperation when I was hosting an event that no one seemed interested in. The event turned out better than expected and I, again, in my very wise reflection wrote:


The point is that we can NOT let our insecurities get the best of us! Whether we are dating, hosting an event, or doing anything else that brings us out of our comfort zone, we need to quiet that inner critic and remain confident. We need to hold our heads high and be proud. Whether we strike out or hit it out of the ballpark is not really the issue. As long as we DO it, whatever IT is, we will succeed. (Of course, now that my event was successful, it’s a lot easier for me to say that rather than the alternative, “I am NEVER going to do that again!”)


But now we’ve been in this pandemic for almost a year, and I, along with the rest of the world, am feeling a bit cranky.  Yeah, I’m supposed to be all “Carpe Diem-y” and not let trivial things like this bother me. (I am Super Carpe Diem Woman after all), but what I really want to say is: “Quit your whining about how bad it is that we can’t do anything anymore, you… whiners..., suck it up and at least RSVP for the damn virtual parties!”  


I’ve tried to host a variety of virtual events throughout the year in hopes to help people who are feeling isolated or lonely (including me!)  When I host something on Meetup, I don’t take it personally when people don’t show up. These people don’t even know me. But at the last event I hosted, 24 people said they were coming.  Knowing that Meetups are notorious for people just not showing up, I sent two emails asking for confirmation and only got 3 replies: 1 Yes, 1 No, and 1 Maybe. There ended up being only 4 (besides me) who attended. I don’t mind a small group, but what has happened to our culture when it’s OK just to ignore people? When it’s OK to RSVP yes and then not show up. It’s just rude! 


Since I love socializing and celebrating, I host a lot of things, and as much as I try to “be mature” and not let my insecurities get the best of me, it seems like there is always something that hurts my feelings.  Someone gets upset that I didn’t share who else is invited and if I do share, then someone gets upset that their email wasn’t kept private.  Someone thinks virtual parties are boring or “too sterile,” as one of my friends so bluntly told me.


When I sent out an invitation for my virtual birthday party coming up next week, I got this response: "It's so offensive that you sent this invitation when so many people are suffering... All you think about is yourself!"  


Ok, ok..  Before you get too outraged, I admit that was my own subconscious. Yes, it was only a disturbing dream.  But it shows you that I have yet to kill off those stupid insecurities that are running around in my head.


I know that we are all cranky and tired. I know that a nerdy introvert like me is much better at being fine with virtual parties. (Heck, I actually love that I don’t also have to worry about the food, my house, and every other aspect of party-throwing that I’m overly-insecure about.) And I know that little ol’ me is not going to change the direction of where our culture is headed with this blog post. Even my own children have told me that it's not personal, it's just the culture. "Not in OUR family's culture," I responded in a threatening Mom-like way. (Sadly, I don't seem to have much influence even with my grown-up kids these days, but.. that's yet another peeve..  Geez, I might write a whole series! It's feeling good to vent!)


My plea out to the Universe is to at least respond when you get a personal invitation. Remember that someone is trying to make a connection with you. If you can’t muster another virtual call or you don’t like virtual parties or you just don’t feel like going, then fine.. Maybe connect in some other way.  But it’s just not OK to ignore someone or to say ‘Yes’ to something and then not show up. Let’s not let this become a norm in our society. And if we can’t prevent it in our society, let’s at least prevent it from becoming a personal norm.


Rant over. Now it’s time for me to stress out about some other aspect of my upcoming party.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Happy Picture of the Week: The Marvelous M'DLee

Lee as Annie Hall!


As you, loyal readers, know by now, I'm a bit of a theme-driven celebration maniac! I've been promoting "Carpe Diem Day" quite heavily, with contests, blog posts, podcasts, and on social media.

Though I haven't garnered many more followers to my little tribe," I've added one new friend who is so creative and wonderfully participatory that she is worth more than a million uninvolved followers.  Her name is Lee MacIvor.

Lee, invited by the ever-supportive Becky Burns,  I discovered was nicknamed "The Duchess" and shares my penchant for costumes and word-play. I quickly rebranded her M'DLee (M'Duchess Lee rather than M'Lady) and I am "CarpeDita" (another Becky nickname!)

M'DLee immediately joined my February contests with creative zest for both Wear Red Day and Umbrella Day.  Hooray!

Lee mysteriously peeks out from her beautiful red cape on Wear Red Day


Pure delight in this umbrella-laden photo!

But that's just the beginning!

Lee didn't need any prompts or contests to creatively celebrate Valentine's Day, "Lady and Tramp"-style (the famous spaghetti-eating scene) with her long-distance boyfriend. She writes:

Like many, my Valentine and I weren’t able to celebrate the day in person due to COVID. So, I invited him to a 'Lady and the Tramp’ dinner via phone. We both cooked a spaghetti dinner and ate together while talking, laughing, and toasting ourselves and to COVID-free days. I dressed as Annie Hall since that was one of the first movies we saw together.

Lee celebrated Mardi Gras in style as well. No pandemic is going to stop this woman from seizing the day!



Lee's thoughts:

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, plus about 40 other celebration days, including Do a Grouch a Favor Day (love it!). I share a saying with you - everyday is an adventure. It was my standard answer to whatever fresh chaos was challenging me at work. Mae West said that everyday was a holiday - apparently she had a better grip on things than me.  For the holiday, I prepare Cajun food, listen to Doug Kershaw’s ‘Bully of the Bayou’ and Hank Williams’ Jambalaya (On the Bayou), and toast the day with a Sazerac (or two).  This year I’m making etoufee and having some King Cake I had sent up from New Orleans.


My final February Contest is for the first official Carpe Diem Day, on Friday, February 26, 2021.  (By the way, it was very exciting that Carpe Diem Day was added by DaysoftheYear.com this week!)

Lee told me what she's planning for this occasion via a Zoom "bed-in" interview. Leave it to Lee to even find a way to make a party out of a Zoom interview!




Lee, re-enacting John and Yoko Ono "Bed-in" for Peace Interview

I will hold off on revealing her special celebration for now, but let me just say it captures the spirit of what I envisioned for Carpe Diem Day celebrations so perfectly..  showing resilience, love, generosity, and the preservation of legacy.

I don't know how well-known Carpe Diem Day will ever be.. whether it will be celebrated much further than my little circle of friends (or even by my circle of friends!)  But it will be celebrated this year by one very special lady in one very special way.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Happy Pictures of the Week: National Umbrella Day

One of my highlights this week was hosting a February 10th National Umbrella Day competition!

I picked celebrating Umbrella Day because I wanted an excuse to buy this flamingo umbrella!

When Michele's pictures were of Monet's Woman With a Parasol, I decided to follow her lead!

Love the cute kid umbrella pictures!

Lee is VERY thematic with umbrellas large and small in a Asian setting!

Michele's recreation of Monet Masterpiece

This was Ronald Richard Garcia's Entry from a show called "The Prisoner"

Sarah's entry with her son who looks like he's ready to fly like Mary Poppins!

Teresa's entry of an adorable little girl.

Another cutie!



Can't get enough of these cute kids!

Jackster's Ball Peen Hammer Umbrella

Becky taking a Yoga Stance with an Umbrella in the background

Tony (the winner!) with a flamingo umbrella (just like mine!) in a flock of flamingos!

Me with my Umbrella Hat from 2019 Bolder Boulder!



Thursday, February 04, 2021

Happy Pictures of the Week: Discovering Iris Paper Folding

 

Making Valentines -  Iris Paper Folding Virtual Class

I love discovering cool things that I never knew existed and one of those things I discovered this week was Iris Paper Folding.  A virtual class was advertised in a Boulder Lifelong Learning Adult Education email and it turns out my daughter, Megan, and daughter-in-law, Stella, were also interested! So fun that we were all able to attend together via Zoom!

The technique turned out to be surprisingly easy, with plenty of templates available for free online! There really aren't too many crafts that I make that end up looking good on the first try, but these cards are very easy, yet look very artsy!



Megan and my grandson, Diego sold cards at a craft fair they were hosting

The cards, obviously, are just in time for Valentine's Day, but there are several other February occasions where they come in handy:

Today (February 4) is Thank a Mail Carrier Day,  February 7 is National Send a Card to a Friend Day, and the whole month of February is National Heart Month. 

I'm learning all about these special days in preparation for the big one on February 26th: National Carpe Diem Day

I checked in with some of the Websites that publish all these special days to see if they can get National Carpe Diem Day added to their lists.  Even though I'm getting some traction, it certainly is not a quick and easy process.  I signed up to become an Ambassador for National Days Calendar and I'm using this month to up my game with social media.  I'm even hosting 3 contests to try to get more followers to my Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group.

Overall, I'm having fun celebrating and promoting these different weird and wacky holidays, And an additional unique and fun event was Scotty's commissioning into the Space Force!  Pretty cool that he is in this first generation of Space Force Guardians!

Scotty transitions from Air Force to Space Force!

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