Summer Home – Rustic Glam

Image Source: facebook.com/SamanthaPynn/photos

For my avid readers, you’ll know that I have a penchant for interior decorating programs. To fuel my addiction, Summer Home is the latest series I’ve added to my growing list of favourite home makeover shows. What makes this series unique is its focus on renovating summer homes – or holiday homes as we call them here in Australia. In each episode, host Samantha Pynn, aims to update rundown retreats trapped in a time warp, and transform them from boring to delightful getaways.

Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/9

 The program has a laid back vibe that’s reflected in Samantha’s signature style. I have an affinity for her refreshing approach to decorating; it’s what I define as casual chic. With Samantha, you won’t find ostentatious fixtures, opulent or ornate focal points and quirky decorating concepts. Instead, Samantha’s creations are bright, cosy and inviting. Her designs are based on restrained elegance, understated rustic glam. She combines country with a classic, timeless comfort, yet modern feel.

Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/15

Samantha provides practical solutions to breathing new life into a home. Where possible, she retains existing furniture to minimise costs but refreshes the pieces with new slip covers or re-upholstering. In addition to custom fixtures, Samantha also favours vintage accessories found in local thrift stores or antique shops to maintain a cottage charm.

Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/19

As the homes of her clients are often located along rivers, lakes or set amongst wooded areas, her designs are often nature inspired, so as not to divert from the character of the house. To keep the look fresh, she uses pops of colour with visual elements such as pillows, throw blankets, rugs and ornaments with soft colour pallets, floral prints mixed with muted geometric patterns and delicate textures.

Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/32

In some episodes, Samantha’s major challenge is maximising areas with limited space, creating a room that is both functional and flexible in terms of their layout, purpose and usage. She often achieves this with a splash of paint, new flooring, re-positioning furniture, adding fixtures with sleek minimalist features, dismantling walls or building cabinetry upwards instead of outwards – all to create the illusion of space.

Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/40

In summary, Samantha manages to combine both function and form, transforming rooms that once lacked any artistic direction, and injecting a dash of glam that is visually eye catching yet comfortable and casually stylish.

Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/42

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Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/53

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Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/22

Image Source: facebook.com/SamanthaPynn/photos

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Me, Public Speaking? I’d Rather Go Nude!

One of my greatest fears in life is public speaking. I’d rather jump out of a plane nude, or walk barefoot through a pit filled with hairy tarantulas!

Recently, my little sister asked me to make the customary ‘family member’ speech at her engagement party. I was deeply touched and honored that she considered me, but at the same time I wanted to wet my pants (and throttle her)! Deep down, I secretly thought this was payback for all the times I threatened to flush her down the toilet when we were younger. My stomach began to churn and twist in knots. I had two months to come up with a speech and the pressure was on!

Image Source: publicspeakingtraining.biz/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Suit-guy-infront-of-big-corp-audience-iStock-CROPPED.jpg

Some people are gifted speakers, me….not so much. As a student, at the end of each term, my report card read – “C is a conscientious student but needs to participate in class discussion”. It was a recurrent theme throughout primary school and high school, much to the disappointment of my parents! Despite the many lectures from both my teachers and the folks, it was a lesson never learned and haunts me to this day.

 I can’t recall the source or quote the exact statistic, but according to a survey conducted, a significant number of people would rather die than engage in public speaking. OK, it’s a tad extreme but I can more than empathize with the thought.

I’m painfully shy! I liken myself to an awkward, country church mouse with hermit tendencies. I was the wallflower in high school that never got asked out because I was socially inept with zero personality. Men weren’t exactly queuing up for a date during my footloose and fancy free twenties because I couldn’t chat any guy up (it didn’t  help that I tried to save myself for Brad Pitt)!

Image Source: publicrelationssydney.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Microphone-at-conference.jpg

I’d still be single, desperate and dateless today if the better half hadn’t have made the first move. He was brave enough to introduce himself when we first met. I think he felt sorry for the loner in the tight skirt and knee high boots leaning up against the bar with vodka in hand.

Some people love the sound of their own voice; you know the ones who could talk under water? I’m in awe of those who can dominate conversations over the dinner table or board room meetings. I envy people who are gifted speakers, the best of which can mesmerize and captivate an audience. It does help if you ooze a little charm, personality and charisma. Personally, I believe you’re born with it, it’s an innate talent.

By contrast, talking is my weakness, my Achilles heal. Place me in front of a group of people and this weakness is elevated ten fold and I’m overcome with paralyzing fear! I start to quiver, sweat uncontrollably and I turn into a jibbering idiot. My mind freezes up and turns blank; I struggle to articulate what’s in my head (which isn’t much). Don’t get me wrong, I love attention. I don’t mind walking into a room, wearing something glam with a touch of bling and turning heads. However, when I open my mouth, I struggle to come up with something sharp, witty or profound to say. It’s a challenge to convey a message in a succinct, articulate manner – instead, I fall flat on my face (I guess this explains why writing is my escape).

Image Source: speechmattersaustralia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/public-speaking.jpg

My saving grace has always been my writing. Whenever I had to conduct presentations or meetings at work, I had notes prepared for my own sense of security. So, that’s where my mission began. I began to draft my speech until I realized I had no idea what to write! The avid blogger was suffering from writer’s block! I had to get down to the basics. Like with any good story, you need a captivating introduction, a memorable plot with a middle section that takes the audience on a joyride and a conclusion to tie up the yarn.  I channelled in my marketing experience and similar to a sales pitch, you need to have key objectives and an understanding of your target audience and what they’re after. Research is the key – a broad knowledge and understanding of what you’re talking about!

My ultimate goal was to create a light hearted message about my sister’s road to romantic bliss while hoping the audience didn’t suffer through sheer boredom, and the means to achieve this was to add some humor to the speech. I didn’t want to go down the path of the boring mushy lovey dovey clichés that you find in a Hallmark card – love is a journey not a destination, love is patient, love is kind – Blah! Blah! Blah! What a crock! That makes me gag. Instead, I wanted DIRT, that is, the crazy shenanigans that the youth of today get up to (ideal for my young audience). So I contacted close family and my sister’s friends to dig up some gossip which would form the bulk of my speech.

I certainly didn’t want to write a thesis. I wanted to keep the speech short and sweet – the less time I have to spend talking…the better! Once the speech was written up, the next stage was to practice, because practice makes perfect! I began to rehearse, I’d pace up and down the hallway rehearsing, varying my tone of voice and ensuring the delivery of each joke was perfect. On several occasions I even sat in front of Winston the Wonder Dog and read through my lines. After several rounds, eventually my own dog got bored! He’d look at me perplexed before dozing off. It got to a point where he’d walk the opposite direction as soon as he saw me approaching him. The paw thing, even my own dog got sick of the speech. That wasn’t a good sign!

As the date of the engagement party loomed, I couldn’t sleep. I began to get hives! Even as I slept, my mind raced through what I was going to say. On the day of the soiree, I needed a calming mechanism…..booze! Copious amounts of alcohol helps…it’s the best social lubricant….as they say, booze make men brave and women loose! After a few glasses of vodka, Bacardi and gin – I was rockin’!!!

Image Source: openspeaking.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/public-speaking-coaching.jpg

With paper in hand, I began the speech. I started off strongly, despite the fact my hands were trembling. If I could measure the amount of quivering, it would be off the Richter scale. I lost my spot once but quickly brushed the mistake off. Once the audience laughed at a few comical gags, I knew I was on fire. To my sister’s relief, I didn’t disgrace myself!

In summary, I survived! Woo hooo! Would I ever volunteer or yearn to be nominated for any future public speaking events? Well, like I said earlier, I’d rather jump out of a plane nude, or walk barefoot through a pit filled with hairy tarantulas!

Christmas Greetings! With Love, Melbourne

Flinders Street Station Image Source: The Vibe 101

Flinders Street Station Image Source: The Vibe 101

There’s nothing like summer in Melbourne, especially as Christmas approaches. The city’s lively atmosphere steps up a gear and comes to life even further as the festive season kicks in. Christmas brings such a spirited, vibrant buzz in town. The garlands are hung, decorations adorn street lamps and shop windows are decked out with glistening ornaments and flickering party lights.

Melbourne Town Hall Image Source: The Vibe 101

Melbourne Town Hall Image Source: The Vibe 101

The Block Arcade Image Source: The Vibe 101

The Block Arcade Image Source: The Vibe 101

The mood around the CBD is laid back, yet pulsating and infectious. As you stroll along the city streets, you’ll find yourself weaving in and out of the large crowds of people, some of whom have taken to the festive spirit by donning reindeer antlers or Santa hats. It’s hard not to be captivated by the light entertainment performed by an eclectic mix of buskers and carollers scattered on the corner of busy intersections or positioned outside retail department stores.

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

The smorgasbord of bars, cafes and restaurants is the heart and soul of Melbourne. Personally, it’s a great city to wine, dine and ultimately to relax as you gear up for Christmas celebrations. The tantalising aromas wafting through the air from some of Melbourne’s finest eateries combined with the large number of funky pubs and clubs only adds to the sizzling energy and ambiance of this great city.

Burke Street Mall Image Source: The Vibe 101

Burke Street Mall Image Source: The Vibe 101

Myer (Melbourne's equivalent to Macy's, Selfridges or SM Department Stores) Image Source: The Vibe 101

Myer (Melbourne’s equivalent to Macy’s, Selfridges or SM Department Stores) Image Source: The Vibe 101

The hedonistic fusion of awesome music, delectable food, cocktail of drinks and great company is hypnotic to the senses and further intensifies the joy and merriment one would experience at this time of the year. Melbourne certainly knows how to turn on the charm to build up a cheerful party vibe full of reverie. You’ll wish to soak it in and bottle it up

I love Christmas, especially in Melbourne!

Pic 21 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Visual Light Show at Melbourne Town Hall
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 20 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Visual Light Show at Melbourne Town Hall
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 19 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Visual Light Show at Melbourne Town Hall
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Melbourne Town Hall Image Source: The Vibe 101

Melbourne Town Hall Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 8 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Hardware Lane, worth visiting for a bite to eat
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 3 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 5 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 7 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Image Source: The Vibe 1o1

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Flinders Street Station, Melbourne’s equivalent to New York’s Grand Central Station or The Tube in London
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 9 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Burke Street Mall
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 10 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

The GPO at Melbourne
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 6 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Apocalypse Now!

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end. It’s already tomorrow in AUSTRALIA!!!!” Charles M. Schulz

Image Source: Facebook mamagenerator.net

 

Image Source: HeraldSun.com.au
Picture: Pierre-Philippe Marcou

Image Source: HeraldSun.com.au Picture: Johan Ordonez

Image Source: HeraldSun.com.au Picture: Matt Dunham

Image Source: HeraldSun.com.au Picture: Marko Drobnjakovic

Image Source: HeraldSun.com.au Picture: Hector Retamal

Image Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/amazingly-world-survives-maya-apocalypse/story-fnd134gw-1226542199000

The Sunshine Award

Image Source: Google.com

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey!”

I could whistle that tune all day. It’s such a whimsical and uplifting little ditty. It was the first thing I did when I found out that itchyfeetme nominated The Vibe 101 for the Sunshine Award. It’s The Vibe’s fourth nomination, and I always get a buzz whenever my site is recognised by my fabulous fellow bloggers.

HOW IT WORKS:

1)      Include the Sunshine Award Logo(s) in a post or in your blog.

2)      Share the love and thank the person who nominated you and in your post provide the link or name of their blog and comment what their site is about.

3)      Answer 10 questions about your self from the person/blog that nominated you.

4)      Nominate 10 to 12 other fabulous bloggers and ask them 10 questions.

5)      You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated you!

6)      Link your nominees’ blog/site names to your post and let them know they are nominated via their blog.

itchyfeetme has a passion and wanderlust to discover the world around her. You’ll be taken on a journey as you read her adventures and experiences from the Philippines, Vietnam, France to Armenia and the United Arab Emirates! Check out her blog on itchyfeetme.wordpress.com

Image Source: itchyfeetme.files.wordpress.com

10 QUESTIONS ABOUT ME:

  • Favorite Color: Red, it’s such a vibrant, sultry and sexy colour! Sort of like myself….in a wallflower, country church mouse kind of way. I’m full of contradictions!
  • Favorite time of the year: my birthday, Christmas, Spring , whenever there’s a merchandise stocktake sale.
  • Favorite Number: 4, I don’t know why, but I’ve always been drawn to this number. Maybe it’s the fact that I feel it’s evenly balanced.
  • Favorite Non Alcoholic Drink: Coke, but I’ve cut down because it’s probably corroding my insides!
  • Favorite Cuisine: Korean, Japanese, Italian – I start to salivate just thinking about it. Yum! Yum! Yum!
  • My Passion : Anything artistic – writing, reading, decorating, listening to music, going to the movies – it gets the creative juices flowing!
  • Dream destination: South America, Africa, Maldives, Tahiti, mainland US – I could go on. So much to do. So much to see and still tick off my bucket list.
  • Nicest place been so far : Vienna, Paris, Monaco, Egypt, Rome, Salzburg, Florence, Venice, Phuket.
  • FB or Twitter : Can you believe I don’t have a twitter account? Blimey.
  • Mantra : Carpe Diem…..Seize the Day!

MY NOMINEES:

I’ve nominated the following blogs for the Sunshine Award. I have a weakness for travel and food blogs, or any blog with great photography. Their posts are fascinating to read and the images featured on their sites are amazing! I hope the nominations spread a few positive vibes. Share the love peoples!

http://thewanderlustgene.wordpress.com

http://thebucketlust.com

http://moniquesantiago.wordpress.com

http://timelessdifference.com/

http://onegirlsquestforperfection.wordpress.com

http://travellingtonito.wordpress.com

http://eatlivetravelblog.wordpress.com

http://sh0werstorm.wordpress.com

http://notanothertravelsite.wordpress.com

virginiasite.wordpress.com

thetravellingcardigan.wordpress.com

QUESTIONS FOR NOMINEES

  1. If you had one day to play God, what would you do?
  2. If you could turn back time, what would you change in this world?
  3. If you found $10,000 in an alleyway, what would you do?
  4. Which movie character can you most relate to and why?
  5. Who is the best world leader of all time and why?
  6. What is the best movie of all time and why?
  7. Where is the best city to live and why?
  8. What’s the next gadget that should be invented e.g. flying car, money that grows on trees?
  9. What is the root of all evil?
  10. If you weren’t on a diet and there was no risk to your health, what would you eat?

You are my Sunshine! (Image Source: Google.com)

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD

I always experience a rush of excitement when I’m recognised by my fabulous fellow bloggers. A big shout out goes to theeclecticeccentricshopaholic, who’s nominated The Vibe 101 once again, this time for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. It’s one tiny step closer to a Pulitzer Prize. Ok, not quite, but we’re heading in the right direction!

RULES for the VERY INSPIRING BLOG AWARD. PLEASE FOLLOW CAREFULLY:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

The Eclectic Eccentric Shopaholic is a prolific writer with the skill to post daily about her own reflections and experiences on life in the Philippines. She’s an avid participant in the daily prompt, haiku and short story challenges. Check out the blog on theeclecticeccentricshopaholic.wordpress.com It’s a fascinating read!

 

7 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. I was the nerdy girl in high school who never got asked out. I’d love to say I was the ugly duckling who eventually blossomed into a beautiful swan (i.e. Victoria’s Secret model), sadly that’s not the case.
  2. If I could change a few things about myself, I’d want to be prettier, smarter, and more gregarious. I gotta grow some balls – BIG ONES!
  3. If I could be anyone but myself, I’d be Angelina Jolie – she’s gorgeous, talented, and articulate and she has a whole lotta chutzpah (i.e. she’s brazen, bold & beautiful)!
  4. If I ever met God, I’d thank him for letting me re-sit my economics test without any penalties. I got my exam schedule mixed up and arrived late for my final assessment. Oops!
  5. My biggest regret is that I didn’t follow my dreams to become a journalist, fashion designer or interior decorator. But I’m finally turning things around and creating my own path….wherever it takes me. I’m bound to get lost along the way!
  6. If I could eat anything (and not have to worry about my weight and figure), I’d eat copious amounts of Krispy Kremes, Pringles, Cheezels and Pavlovas – that would just be for appetisers to wet the palette.
  7. The movie character that most reflects who I am would be Josie ‘Grosie’ Geller from the film Never Been Kissed, and played by the bubbly Drew Barrymore. I’m an ever fumbling geek to the core!

 

MY NOMINEES

For my regular readers, you’ve probably figured out that there’s a common theme to the blogs I love to read. Yes, I have a weakness for travel and food blogs, or sites that feature captivating photography. Congratulations to the following blogs as you have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Share the love and pay it forward.

http://julieriso.wordpress.com

http://traveller2006.wordpress.com

http://travelphotosfoodandlife.wordpress.com

http://mlitvinskasphotography.wordpress.com

http://cocomoke.wordpress.com

http://randomizer144.wordpress.com

http://alittlethingcalledmetime.wordpress.com

http://eagleborn2fly.wordpress.com

Image Source:

Angelina Jolie,  Never Been Kissed image sourced from  Google

Blogger images were sourced from respective WordPress sites

The Tale of a Wonder Dog!

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You can’t argue with the saying that canines are “a man’s best friend” (and equally a woman’s). It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the bond shared between people and their dogs is special. I can knowingly say this based on the unconditional love we’ve experienced with our four legged buddy – Winston the Wonder Dog!

 Cover Shot

Winston is our nine year old Chihuahua x Pomeranian, who oozes personality, spunk and charisma. But Winston is more than just a pretty face. For a canine he exudes impeccable taste in quality TV programming. In fact, one of his favourite pastimes is cuddling up beside me on the couch to watch The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Keeping up With The Kardashians or The Bold & The Beautiful together. It’s fair to say that we’ve bonded over our love of talk shows, reality TV series and daytime soaps. Despite what my better half thinks, Winston would rather watch grass grow than sit through a season of football or cricket on TV!

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Winston’s other passion is to keep people company. He has the ability to put a smile on my face when I’m feeling a little ho hum. He’ll roll on his back with his paws up in the air for a tummy rub, or curl up at my feet and keep my tootsies toasty warm. If I’m struggling for inspiration, he’ll often nestle up against me while I’m working on the laptop and just his presence will perk me up. Eventually the cheekiness kicks in. He’ll interrupt my train of thought by nudging his head under my hand as a reminder to scratch under his chin. Alternatively, he’ll walk all over the keyboard just for a smidge of attention.

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Winston loves attention. I may be bias but I reckon he’s a star in the making. Deep down, I think my better half enjoys walking him for the simple reason that Winston is such a chick magnet. Let’s face it, Winston’s a people dog! People are naturally drawn to him and he always laps up the affection he receives from random strangers. He’d never make a great guard dog.  Guests at our humble abode are generally licked to death and if you dangle food in front of him, Win would be putty in your hands!

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In addition to his playfulness, Winston also has a protective nature, similar to the way a mother watches over her brood. He exhibits what I refer to as ‘grandmother tendencies’, where he waits for us by the front window until we come home from work, a night out, or even a short trip to the supermarket. Whenever I hear the pitter patter of his paws on the wooden floorboards, I know he’s following me like my shadow around the house. On one occasion, I organised for my parents to babysit him during a weekend escape. According to my folks, Winston waited in the hallway in vain, hoping that my partner and I would come home, demonstrating how loyal he is towards us. Winston won’t sleep until the two of us are in bed, at which time he finally clocks off for the evening.

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He greets me each morning by standing on his short hind legs and tapping his front paws onto my side of the bed until I pat him in response. If I choose to ignore him, he’ll start moaning with worry. In fact, Winston has an instinct for sensing when I’m in pain. A few months ago, I stubbed my toe on the coffee table and groaned in agony. Just recently, I had a serious coughing fit where I was in tears.  In both instances Winston rushed towards me with such an alarmed, concerned look on his face as if to say ‘Are you OK mum?’

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In retrospect, I was never a big animal lover. When I was young, like all kids I enjoyed the idea of owning a pet, while not fully understanding the responsibility involved in looking after them. However, since meeting the better half, I knew I had to broaden my mind. Basically, for the relationship to work, the choice was – him and me, or, – him, me and a dog. And the dog will always win hands down when it comes to my partner. So, I sucked it up….and I’m glad I did!

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Ultimately, the best moment is when Winston stretches his neck, looks upwards and stares longingly at us with his adoring eyes while his tail wags with enthusiasm.  Even when he smells of some strange pungent odour, you just want to cuddle him. Winston’s at his happiest snuggled between my better half and me.

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In the past two years I’ve learned how much joy a dog can bring into your life. It’s their unconditional love, unwavering loyalty and the strong bond that they share with us that melts my heart. In a nutshell it’s the simple pleasures that make adopting a dog (or any pet) oh so precious.