i'm back & a little black

Well I'm back from my silent retreat and I can honestly say that this was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I totally underestimated the task. Within 3 hours I thought I had made a big mistake and wanted to escape. It's not that I missed talking, I missed hearing other voices. Especially laughter. My husband makes me laugh every day and I missed that immensely. I went to the retreat to help put certain aspects of my life in perspective and it worked. I was never so glad to get home and absorb my environment and just listen. So while I don't think I'll be going back anytime soon, I'm glad I went.

I thought to balance out the post I did on all the white around my house, I'd post some of my favorite black things. I agree with whoever said every room needs a touch of black. It really can ground a room. I think this little place cries out for some black.

I'll start with my much loved blackboards. I found the frames and made them myself. I'm not much of a crafty-type person but I really love these. They are nice for dinner parties or informal gatherings. I've never posted this one. It's in my kitchen and I really like putting menus on it.
You've seen this one about a million times but I really like putting quotes on this one. It's a good conversation starter for parties.

I found this fan at a junk store many years ago and it works like a charm and it's loaded with character.

My favorite little black table from the Rustic Rooster.

You know I had to include a bit of fashion. I love this dress. I bought it last year at Talbots for $39 on summer clearance. It's 100% pure Irish Linen. And being an Irish girl, how could I resist.

I included one of my most treasured items. I highly recommend mothers of young children, especially boys to get one of these. You never know when it will come in handy.

my black belt


  1. Janet, thanks for dropping by and what a wonderful post! I bet the silence retreat was hard but I am so glad you went. I would like to know more about your observations and experiences, and I would love to attend one day also. I have heard many things, that it is hard, impossible, wonderful, restful, stressful, etc. and even raises anger and sadness but that all of that experience of emotion is very cathartic, along with the other learnings...

    Love the black things in your house. I have almost no black, find it quite harsh perhaps also because I have so much dark brown already for grounding, although I am drawn to black and white art.

    Love that dress on you - you are gorgeous in it!!! Looks Chanel!

    I need to learn how to make a chalkboard - have lots of old frames, but what kind of wood do you put inside to paint? It needs to be flat and smooth...

    xo Terri

  2. The fact that you actually attended this silent retreat says a lot about your character. I think it says you have follow-through, which is lacking in a lot of people, including myself.

    It's easy to 'say', harder to 'do'.

    Welcome back too, I always love more photos of your gorgeous home. I agree with touches of black and your blackboards are tres cool, especially with a Francais gilt frame.

  3. Hey Janet!

    Your trip to 'quiet land' sounds way too intense; glad it did what it was supposed to do and that you're better for it ... there's no place like home, right?


  4. Hi Janet,

    Welcome home! As always, I love seeing images of your beautiful home. Love the chalkboard idea A LOT. Perhaps I'll add one in our kitchen!

    Hugs for you friend,

  5. Interesting to come back and post on black in every good happy way.

    Looking forward to discovering more about what gifts silence gave you.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  6. Love the chalkboard...and the dress.
    A BLACK BELT Janet!
    WOW! You are one very interesting woman!

    Happy to hear that you felt the retreat was worthwhile...

  7. Love the blackboards and love the black belt. What is this Talbots you speak of? We do not have it here. I've been wondering how the retreat panned out for you. I couldn't do it but am glad it helped you in your quest for calm. The Balck and Spiro shop looks fab. I had a lot of fun at the party. I have a lot more photos to publish in coming days.

  8. Your so right about a touch of black. I love the items you showed us - especially the dress. And that Black Belt is something to behold for sure!

  9. She's back. Back in black.

    We used to have retreat weekends in boarding school. I snuck away one weekend figuring no one would miss me if I wasn't talking. I was very wrong. I was expelled the next day.

    Perhaps I would do better as an adult?

  10. Welcome back. Great post. I Love blackboards too. Your dress is fab and a black belt niceo one. I didnt know you are an Irish girl..aha that's why you found the silence hard?!! LOL! Sinead x (another Irish lass!)

  11. I was interested to read how the retreat was for you as I have been thinking about whether I could be silent for that long...
    Love the pics of your house as ever and especially the chalkboards and your little table. YOu look so lovely in the Talbots bargain dress - amazing in fact. x

  12. Hi Janet - So glad you're back. I kept wondering if you'd take a permanent vow of silence! You certainly had a great experience and I echo the others here in congratulating you on sticking with it. I'm not so adventurous. The dress looks great on you too! You really should be a model. Everything you show looks just right on you.

  13. teri - you are so right on, regarding the feelings. are you sure you have not been yet? the feelings...lonliness, frustration, anger juxtaposed with silence, peace and calm. it was extraordinary really. like i said, i'm glad i did it but much like the marathon i ran, once is enough for me for right now at least.

    as far as blackboards go it is super easy. i used scrap wood we had around here. your local hardware store could cut your pieces to fit your frames. then it's just blackboard paint. it's easy.

    ff - talbots is a sort of high end womans store here in the states. google them and check out their fall line-up. it's perfect for me but prob a little too tame for you.

    jane - i seriously doubt you'd do better as an adult! i wanted to run at least 3 x a day!

    thank you to everyone else with your kind wishes and compliments regarding my fav black dress. you are all too kind. really.

  14. Would love to hear more about your experience but I like that you so quickly identified laughter being the thing you missed most. And a black belt? That's impressive!

  15. Hey! You know I've been thinking about you...it sounds like even though it was tough, you gained some true insight. I'm very proud that you stuck with it - hopefully, things will all fall into place now.

    You are one facinating lady - Talbots and a black belt! You look fabulous!

    I thought I loved my chalkboards - yours are so charming! I'm going to start writing inspirational quotes on mine.

    Talk to you soon,

  16. The LAST item on your list rocks! your black belt. Who would have thought? Fantastic post, as usual.

  17. Hi Janet, what a fab post, loved it all! you are are black belt in tae-kwondo! I am sooooo impressed, that is cool! Can't wait to tell Boy 1 about this! I still think you look like Selma Blair, you look cute in your black dress. I have a chalk board, it has an inspirational message on it " Don't forget your sandwiches" it's been on there for over a year, I need to put different quotes on each day, thanks for the inspiration. Bxx

  18. Welcome back Janet! I'm so happy it was a good experience overall. In EatPrayLove she describes the exact response- thinking she had made a mistake and wanting to run away!

    Love all your black- I, too, have a chalkboard menu board in an antique frame in my kitchen, and I painted the chalkboard too! Great minds!!!
    Love the old fan, have a couple- but yours is beautiful with the brass blades.
    You're as cute as always- and you have the best hair!! Super cute cut. Love the dress.
    And a Black Belt... I'm very impressed! Remind me not to mess with you;)!

  19. Hi Janet, I hae respect for retreats, you know, there is always someone who knows someone who had a break down during or after such an experience. whowhoo. I obviously prefer the shallow path. For now.

    I can tell by your lovely face you show us that you have been missing your husband's laughs. Your face reflects the happiness 100%!
    Did you husband join you?

    have a nice weekend!

  20. Great post!
    Nothing beats black & white and I love blackboards too. Perhaps because they remind me of such wonderful school memories (NOT!)
    I do really love them tho. My entire fridge front is a blackboard and beware to the person who hogs too much space with their message!

    Welcome back to the sounds of your home :)

  21. Dear Janet, so good to hear the retreat was finally worth for you. You have been doing things lately that speak a bit about some inner changes going on with you.

    The black dress you are wearing is absolutely gorgeous on you!!
    many hugs!

  22. Hi Janet! First of all, I absolutely LOVE your clothes. You have such great style - feminine and chic:)

    Your comments on my blog absolutely made my day, thank you so much! I'm excited to have been added to your blog roll, and you have been added to mine, as well:)

    As for the camera, I mostly use my iPhone since I always have it with me, but my husband has a Canon Rebel that I use, as well for the "important" pictures such as the ones of our home. I get them to look vintage/faded by using an iPhone app called CameraBag. It's $1.99, and worth every penny if you have an iPhone! If not, Picnic.com is a free service, and they have some fun filters that are similar, such as one called "1960". Hope that helps.

    Thanks again for visiting my little blog!

  23. Oops, that should have been picnik.com ...

  24. Hey again, Okay now I've just had a visitor from Budapest via you. More countries filter through your blog than all the others I follow.

    You are one hip international chick! Glad to know you.

    xo Jane

  25. What a great surpise at the end! Thank you for a wonderful post.

  26. Huge fan of white soft furnishing and walls and dark furniture - old colonial style or scandinavian vibe or oriental style all play with this, so restful and liveable with - great post, love your style, (and the Audrey Hepburnesque dress), and fab blog which I look forward to following. AND a black belt, woohoo! Thanks for visiting mine the other day.

  27. Its so fun to learn about each other, the black belt was a surprise! How cool!
    I love that black dress on you, your adorable.

  28. Janet, you are awesome! That black belt was an amazing surprise, wow! How cool! I love the touches of black, I have been doing the same thing with the chalkboards, making my own with chalkboard paint. I also write quotes on them, and I agree, great conversation. Interesting about the retreat, I meditate daily but it isn't quite the same thing as total silent immersion. XO!

  29. Visiting your blog by way of Morning T...what a lovely home...I'll be coming back...always fun to find a beautiful new blog! :)

  30. Great buy at Talbots! Love this post & have a little blackboard of my own. Gotta take a pic of the white kitchen, but if u go to my blog u will see a pic & a post of the new white studio :)

  31. Hi Janet!

    You never cease to amaze me! You're retreat sounds very inspiring. Only you could post on black and have it be positive and upbeat. And I absolutely love that you have a black belt - you go girl!


  32. Oh! I have been thinking about you and your trip. I have been trying to limit my internet time and haven't visited here lately. It sounds interesting, I would love to hear more. I must agree about the black belt, my son just recently received his second level red belt in Tae Kwon Do and we tell everyone we know to put their children in a GOOD martial arts program, if only for the respect and dicipline aspects.


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