Monday, November 23, 2009

Now IS the Time to Remodel

I received a voicemail message from my client on Saturday... in a nutshell she was THRILLED that her Powder Room remodeling project was moving along smoothly and quickly. My client lives in a coastal community here in Orange County, where 12-18 months ago a 2-4 month wait was the "norm" for just about any type of remodeling work - from painting to plumbing.

This project by the way, was a major "rush" -- literally 6 days to schedule carpeting, painting, and plumbing upgrades ready in time for Thanksgiving dinner!  A feat to be accomplished with no less than three different contractors schedules, not to mention juggling delivery of fixtures and carpeting.  Usually, I would not lay odds that it could be accomplished in such a time schedule (unless of course you have the Extreme Makeover team handy...)  However, it seems the Recession/down economy has freed up some schedules of many local contractors, and has "hungry" vendors willing to go the extra mile to find products, even if that means driving it in from another warehouse 30 miles away.

Last Wednesday, after the wallpaper had been installed (that unfortunately was the one item we couldn't seem to rush), we went to a "wholesale to the public" store that sells bath fixtures available for pickup by the plumber in a 1-day turnaround. We then picked out an eco-friendly sea grass carpeting that was installed on Friday, picked up a fabulous 5 ft. mirror at another store, and scheduled the painter and plumber...all agreeing to be done by Tues. at 5 p.m.  Can't wait to hear what the Thanksgiving guests think!

If you are currently thinking of remodeling a room or rooms in your home and have the budget, there's a good chance you may be able to get your project done on time and without going over budget.  It's a win-win proposition for homeowners and local businesses that have seen a drop in their sales.

Some tips:
  • If you can, pick up fixtures and hardware yourself, and pay on the spot. You'll save the contractor's markup and can be assured necessary items are in stock or can be pulled from another location.
  • Stick to the schedules you arrange for delivery and installation.
  • Make sure your contractors know you can pay in cash at the time the job is completed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

There's Centerpieces...and Then There's CENTERPIECES

I recently wrote an article to share some of the inexpensive Holiday centerpiece ideas I've used over the years. Having budget-friendly options seems more important this year, when so many are scaling back on seasonal entertaining.  

Creating an inexpensive holiday centerpiece for your Thanksgiving or Christmas table can be easily achieved with a few items from your garden or pantry.  With a little creativity, you can create works of art for your holiday table, with little or no money spent. 

Now, having said that...I also want to showcase a cake designer on the East Coast that makes incredibly creative cakes for all types of gatherings, from birthdays to ... yep, you guessed it -- cakes that create a spectacular centerpiece for your Thanksgiving or Christmas table. Check out the Thanksgiving Cornucopia centerpiece cake from

Whatever your Holiday budget - I hope you are inspired to create a beautiful centerpiece to share with family and friends.  It's all about the options isn't it? As a side note: I am REALLY thankful that PinkCakeBox doesn't offer shipping to the West Coast! ;)

Pink Cake Box Cake

Monday, November 2, 2009

Adventures in Aromatherapy

I've been using aromatherapy on some level for years, creating a sense of well-being by using essential oils to create moods at home, induce a sense of relaxation or healing in the bath and in massage.  Recently, I've been expanding my knowledge and use of essential and infused oils -- and am amazed at the depths of knowledge that is available.  Tonight is the last of the aromatherapy classes I've been taking as part of the certificate program for Holistic Wellness Practitioner, and I can truly say it's been one of the most informative and interesting classes I've taken in the past year or so.

Check out Health, Happiness and Essential Oils - my Squidoo Lens on the subject.

Note:  There is a significant difference between pure essential oils and fragrance oils.  More info is available at the National Assoc. for Holistic Aromatherapy