Monday, April 2, 2007


This past week I caught a glimpse of heaven, a slice of the pie of life, the beautiful diamond studded crown atop the head of the world’s most amazing scenery:

Montenegro! Montenegro!!!

It was amazing, it was beautiful, it was magical. It was suspenseful and sweet, seductive and relaxing. Ahhhhh, Montenegro.

Have I mentioned I wasn’t necessarily there? Rather, living it through the new, and surely timeless classic: 007: Casino Royale? Thank you Bond...James Bond.

I have never seen a Bond flick until this one. Call me crazy, but men in cars blowing up and chasing other men in cars with outrageous gadgets -that do anything from cure cancer to hurl you from the top of a skyscraper unharmed to prepare your double foam triple shot mocha latte chatte- strikes me as ridiculous and unappealing. However, upon the ensnaring and highly intriguing trailer, detailing Mr. Bond emerging from a clear blue sea while wearing tight, short shorts (like a real man), I was led to the difficult conclusion that maybe it was time to shed my biased, girlish movie interests and try something new.

And with that said, after viewing it, I must add Mr. Bond doesn’t even come close to my own hunka hunka of burnin’ luuuv. Ah Ladies….should you be so lucky to see him in those shorts.

While Tyler and I were watching the movie, I was in complete awe of the scenery. “Can you believe places like that exist? Why aren’t we there? Who on earth owns that one villa on the corner of the lake at the end of the movie, and why aren't we them?” These were the questions we were forced to ask each other in envy. The founding fathers/pilgrims/etc had it dead wrong. They crossed the wrong ocean, set up camp on the wrong campsite. Who cares about religious freedom….or freedom at all when you could be locked up for life in Montenegro?!!

I love scenery. I am someone you could say is on sensory overload at all times. As a matter of fact, I’m on feeling overload at all times. Call it an aesthetic sixth sense.

In fact, this sixth sense is probably what I would attribute my passion for interior design. Since I was little, I can remember always being keenly aware of my surroundings and the feelings these surroundings evoked. It’s why I'm obsessed with England, my wonderful England, with its lush green landscape and cozy cottages. It’s why the bright sun and vivid colors of Montenegro make my heart skip a beat. It’s why I will finish my degree in interior design, no matter how many babies veer into my path!!!

This strong curiosity and insatiable need to beautify my surroundings has its unattractive faults. Shamefully, I admit I have been prone to incorrectly linking moral, intellectual, emotional, and social intelligence levels to ones ability to pick the correct paint color. As I leave my doctor’s office after a diagnosis and prescription of antibiotics for the latest sinus infection, I am left wondering, “What the heck does he know? Did you see that hideous circa 1980 lavender gag me with a stick rose trim wallpaper border going on in the office waiting room?”
I apply these same ludicrous connections to my own home, thinking, “How can I possibly be a good mother to Lily if I continue to allow that oversized, inappropriately scaled piece of furniture to clutter her existence, even if we are offered it for free from family?” (Note: Aunt Nellie, I am NOT speaking of the wonderful lazy boy chair you gave us. It happens to be our favorite piece EVER. Thank you.) In addition, immediately upon arriving home I must adjust the lighting to the appropriate mood level. Two lamps on in the living room, full lighting in the kitchen and dining room accompanied by the scent of fresh grated ginger and garlic in my latest stir fry is what I consider the aesthetic jackpot. (Note: I am allowing you into the inner workings of a crazy wannabe designer’s mind, so I’d appreciate an open perspective here….I feel your condemnation.)

We must remember our surroundings affect our feelings. They either bring out something good, or something bad, or worse…nothing at all. This is a fact you are undoubtedly subject to whether you’re aware of it or not. Try to look back and remember that time you went to a friend’s house that slightly reminded you of urine and mildew. Remember the feeling in that house? The technical term for your physiological and emotional reaction would be: yucky. (I certainly hope it isn’t MY childhood home you’re thinking of…because we may have been a large Mormon family with a burn barrel outside, dead/trapped carcasses in the yard, and chickens, but we did NOT stink!)

Now envision the opposite experience, say at your Grandma’s house or some other friend. You walk into a home and feel serene. You want to stay. There is something in that house that is “homey”. (Like my Grandma Sharon, whose house has always smelled fresh as a magnolia flower. Sorry Grandma Amaro, yours would have to fall on the side of the faint smell of pee pee and big boobie body odor…but I still loved your cooking…and you, rest in peace)

I’m here to tell you there is a matter of fact, simple formula to such a feeling. About 50% of it is the well thought out, executed interiors. The other 50% is, naturally, the people inside.

Since we can’t change the people inside, we can at least beautify the surroundings in which they bother us. Today I am giving you Rachel Stewart’s 7 simple to do, quick and rather obvious ideas that are virtually cost free for your abode, whether it be a mansion, an apartment, or a cardboard box. And oh, what a beautiful box it could be. You might want to write these down. They could be worth a fortune someday, once I’m discovered by Oprah:

Get rid of anything you don’t need. Corners in the home are not designed for stacked paperwork, shoes, and piles of books. Countertops do not exist simply to be filled from end to end with appliances, dishes, and junk mail. The same goes for your walls. Quit hanging pictures in every open space on the wall. There are a million beautiful things in this world, but they all shouldn't fit in your home. Be selective, your eyes need to rest too. Clean your existence as you would clean your grimey teeth in the morning...the food may have been delicious and well presented, but it doesn't belong wedged everywhere in your teeth. The same goes for your home!

Add a lamp
Too often we are subject to the harsh lighting of a cheap landlord’s approval, or from the cheap homebuilder who built our home. This results in unwanted images of cellulite as you undress, and a general darker feeling in the house as a result of low and poorly distributed white wattage. Lamps are warmer, friendlier, and set an instantly better mood.

Just because it is your favorite color, doesn’t mean your living room should be drowned in it.
Add your favorite color in splashes, or on just one wall if it is a bold color. Engulfing an entire room in beach bum orange might seem great on an episode of Trading Spaces with the perfect hot camera lights, but will make you and visitors feel queasy after 5 minutes. Remember that neutrals may initially seem boring, but in my unexpert opinion, they soothe the soul.

Clean with scented disinfectants.
And please clean thoroughly.

Add a candle.
Cost can be as little as = $0.99. Gas to get to and from Target =$1.79. Candy bar to hold you over on the ride home= $0.89. A glowing and romantic mood to your home= Priceless.

Add a baby.
I did say that these were cost effective tips, so I must note that I recommend thought and a spouse before adding this to your home. And this is the one tip where cardboard boxes must count as an exclusion. Nothing will compare to the beauty that will fill your home, and better yet, you will forever have an excuse as to why your house reeks of urine and dried up bits of turkey deli meat. Oddly enough, people will look forward to returning to your house more and more.

7. If not a baby, something that represents life.
Floral arrangements (I’m not talking about the fake hot pink kind Grandma Amaro used to put outside in her yard during the winter months). It is okay if they aren’t real. But I think we all know what we’re talking about when we must decipher between fake and FAAAAKKKKE. Put anything you think is beautiful and inspiring in your home, and make them the focus of attention by not cluttering a million other little things around them.

Ignore anything and everything I say if you so choose. Sell everything you own and move to Montenegro.
After all, what do I know? Have you seen my pathetically homemade, dreadfully stitched throw pillows on our office futon?


Mom said...

Our delicious little secret...Casino Royale...Dr. Rey - bye, bye...

Mallory aka Auntie Mal said...

Rachel since I am only 11 i am not married and I can say that Mr. bond is my hunk a hunk a burning BABE!!!!!!!!!!!! But he is like 45 but he is still a BABE!!!!!!!!!! especially in that Minnie speedo!!!!!!!!

Daniel said...

These comments are SCANDALOUS!!! Mothers insinuating lust? 11 year olds after 45 year old men!? What has happened?!

But above all--I must comment on the sheer length of your blog. This post revolutionized the way I look at things. You see, after reading for 45 minutes just on Montenegro, I realized that if I simply looked at your paragraphs as individual letters, there were enough of them to actually form words and then complete sentences. Some would say I "skimmed" the remainder of the blog--but I would say I "relished the aesthetic layout of the whole".

Well done I dare say!

And I sadly must share how difficult it is to find those shorts in America. Must be a Montenegro thing.