broke and happy

Although May has been pretty it has not been kind to my bank balance.  First there were the two huge trees that had broken limbs and threatened to take part of my house down.  Big trees = Big money.  Then there was the septic line to the house that had to be replaced. Yes, replaced.  What a nasty, expensive job that was. There were car repairs and an expensive doctor visit too.  And a kid that needed to borrow some money. Oh and before all this I booked a cheap flight to Hawaii to visit M.  Isn't that the way life goes?

But all this life stuff got me thinking about times in my past.  Like when I first moved out from my dads house.  I had a little bungalow that was my first house to fix up.  Not as old as the house we are in now but similar in size. I ripped out the carpet, refinished the hardwood floors, painted everything white and polished the pink tile in the bathroom.  I loved that little house.  Even though I was broke that house taught me my first lessons in simplicity and how to keep a home.  Weekends were now about cleaning and gardening and Saturday nights were more fun staying in than being out partying. This is where I really grew up.

After we married we moved into a little bit bigger house in a much nicer neighborhood.  This is where our family started.  I loved being a young mom with little kids in strollers  Again, we didn't have much money but I was content.  I had the most wonderful neighbor, Sally. Sally was older and much more worldly than me. She had lived in Spain for awhile with her first husband and her home was gorgeous and full of art and antiques.  She invited me over for coffee almost every morning and really taught me how to decorate and entertain.  She taught me to use my best china daily and I sat in awe of her stories about antiques, travel and men. I often wonder if she knew what a big influence she had on me.

The funny thing is that these periods of my life were the leanest and yet the happiest. I don't know why that is but for me it's true.  I think I savor the little details more when I'm broke. It's seems like all the little things get elevated with a grateful heart. I think what has always brought me the most happiness is the idea of doing things on my own and in my own way and making something out of nothing. x

PS - Ok you guys, I caved.  You can find me on Instagram at MRSKORFF  Come visit for 15 seconds of daily beauty.  Or not.  :)

one year

Yesterday while outside puttering around the garden I realized that a year had gone by since my trip of a lifetime. Where on earth did that year go?  I went inside and started looking at photos and getting all teary eyed as one does when reminiscing about something so memorable/amazing/unbelievable.  So a stroll down memory lane seems in order.

My roomate Faux Fuchsia.  She's every ounce as glamorous and funny in real life as she is on her blog.  On one of the days we were headed out to the English countryside she said she was going to pop into the corner store for some provisions for the day. When she returned I asked what she had gotten us. "Chewing gum and Whisky" she replied.

Our pretty hotel room.  They don't make drapes that heavy in California.  I loved opening and closing them each day.  I really did.

We ate our breakfast every morning at that little table while discussing our favorite topic...the fact the we both packed the wrong clothes.

We actioned our hair each day in this small but luxurious bathroom.  Heated floor and towel racks - living like rockstars..

London is just so damn pretty.

The downtown shopping area came alive with floral displays in honor of the Chelsea Flower Show.

Louis Vuitton or Gucci - can't remember.  Anyone?

The stunning cafeteria in the V&A museum.  They don't make cafeterias like that in California either.

High Tea at Blakes

Orchids and champagne (was it 8am girls?) at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Romy and FF, both Australian,  thought I was the one with an accent.
When they imitated me it was hysterical but I guess you just had to be there.

At Designers Guild in London...

...all the way to California and now in my living room.

I'd like to thank Janelle for putting together this amazing trip and including me in such a wonderful adventure.  I made lifetime friends who I know have the same memories of trudging through mud and rain and sometimes glorious sunshine to see some of the most exquisite gardens ever created.  Love all you guys - wherever you are!  xo janet


summer living?

What happened to Spring?  We barely had Winter this year and now this?  I guess it's gonna be a long hot Summer around here.

This picture was taken yesterday just after dawn as the sun was pouring its heat into the house.  I think it was already 87 degrees outside.

In the ongoing paring down saga, I ditched the ironstone plates on the sides of the mirror and moved these antique sconces there and I'm not hating it.

In some other exciting news my bedroom was featured in Making It Simple, a free online magazine. You can see it right here.  Thank you Gen, what an incredible honor!

Does wearing this hat classify me as a hipster now?  I think that's one of the best parts of getting older. Who the hell cares?


spicy asian slaw makeover

One of my favorite recipes has gotten a make-over and it's still delicious.  You can see the original recipe here if you'd like.

New and Improved Spicy Asian Slaw


In a bowl wisk together...

3 Tablespoons all natural organic peanut butter - no sugar, oil or salt added
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon agave
1 Tablespoon water
1 teaspoon Braggs Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce
a few grates of fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For Salad

4-5 cups assorted greens such as kale, cabbage and romaine
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cups dried cranberries

Combine and let sit for a few minutes to allow the dressing to soften the kale.
You can add any other ingredients too such as sliced red peppers, radishes...the list is endless.
I've been stuffing the salad into whole wheat pitas for an on the go lunch.

In other news I have really been suffering with my allergies this year.  It's like a whole new set of symptoms has descended upon my head, mainly itchy eyes and throat.  I am making an appointment this morning with a doctor that comes highly recommended and specializes in functional medicine so there is hope.  Needless to say I've been feeling pretty crappy.

I also want to apologize for the lame attitude I've had in my comments and my lack of attention to the comments in general.

Here's to a less crappy weekend.


eating for health and beauty

iphone photo taken by alex and run through the photo shop aquatic app 

I'm wondering if my fresh new diet will have any impact on my skin. Plagued with skin cancers and pre-cancers I'll take all the help I can get.  Once I saw the tremendous results that Melinda was getting by eliminating all the processed foods from her diet, I began to think about the skin cancers that I have had in the past and the overall condition of my skin.  I already believe that what we eat affects our skin so I take this very seriously and this may be what my skin needs.  It is too soon to tell if it has helped any but I can't help but think that it will.  I mean all the nutrients I'm now getting throughout the day, minus the empty foods should help right?  Gosh I hope so.

So along with a diet that is finally getting cleaned up, I'm still using extra virgin olive oil as my moisturizer. Still washing my face with Dermalogica Ultra Calming Cleanser.   I use Sephora's Eye Contour Pencil in chocolate to line my lower lids to fill in where I lost my lashes from the surgery they did to remove the cancer.  I love this pencil because it is super soft and stays put.  In addition to wearing a hat when I'm outside, I have taken to wearing a daytime BB cream that has a good spf.  I've chosen Physicians Formula BB Cream based on its Skin Deep excellent rating. I apply it with a little olive oil in the morning and it makes for a nice, dewy foundation. I finish off with Aveda's Nourishmint Lipstick in Poppy.  I only wear blush and mascara when I'm going out, not so much when I'm hanging around the house.

As an esthetician I get locked into the products that I use day in and day out.  I often wonder if there are great products I'm missing out on.  I've recently begun venturing outside the Aveda line.  Would you mind sharing anything you think I should know about? Products that have given you tremendous results? Fill me in please. x


brownie orange bites

April was a weird month around here.  Ditching the processed and trying to eat fresh food only has been a challenge...that is for sure.  But I'm starting to get the hang of it.  I'm amazed at how much kale we are going through.  I've figured out that dates are little miracle workers for replacing sugar.  Eating things like those brownie bites above are actually good for you so that is a bonus.  Larry is on-board which makes cooking a heck of a lot easier too. He went for a really long hike last Saturday and called me on the way home and asked what's for dinner. When I told him lentil loaf, I could feel the disappointment on the silent line but guess what? He loved it.  It's really good and here is the recipe I used.  It makes a great sandwich too.  Everything she makes is so beautiful.

We are spending about $10 more a week on food but that might be because I'm replacing things in my pantry with new staples.  I'm buying more nuts and different flours.  I think it will all balance out in the end.

I'd also like to mention that I'm not trying to eat like this to be some sort of saint.  To me it seems like the natural progression of my diet.  I love food and I love to cook.  I'm really not into deprivation or self punishment.  One of my biggest motivators has been watching my dear friend Melinda battle her stage 4 ovarian cancer.  The first thing the doctor did was put her on a vegan diet.  When she had a recurrence last year she went to a special nutritionist and they tweaked that diet to what I'm now doing. The results have been nothing short of a miracle for her.  I mean truly, she is a walking miracle and daily inspiration to me.  We've been trading recipes and encouraging each other and it's been great fun.  

So if you are interested, here is the recipe for those brownie bites.  I got the recipe from Melinda's cancer cookbook.  I made them twice their way and changed things up a little and now I'm really, really happy with them.  They require a bit of extra work, or maybe just getting the hang of using different ingredients but I think they are worth it.

Brownie Bites


2 flax eggs
1/4 - 1/2 unsweetened soy milk
1 banana
4 dates
1/4 cup avocado
1 Tablespoon orange zest

1 1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup spelt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup carob chips or nuts (optional)

In a blender combine the first 6 ingredients.  Start with 1/4 cup soy milk, you may have to add more.
Batter will be thick.

Assemble next 5 ingredients into a bowl and then add the blender mixture.  Stir together.  Add carob chips or nuts.

Batter will be thick and similar to muffin mix.  You can either make muffins but I prefer to put the batter in a 8" square lightly oiled pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  Let cool and cut into squares.

*Flax egg - 1 Tablespoon flaxseed meal mixed with 3 Tablespoons water

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