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Relax

One thing I had to really get used to living in Ecuador is these people really know how to have fun and relax. In a world where every moment is filled with work, work and more work. Hammock time was a very new thing for me . The first year I struggled with not being busy every second of the day and I actually learned to relax a bit. Well , I am a professional now .. I can party and relax with the best of them !

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Sunsets and Marquaritas 
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If you need some hammock time and a sunset dont forget to add these marquaritas click here for how to make them 

click here for my favorite Marquarita glasses, they are great for Cinco de Mayo parties, Taco tuesdays, or Hammock time every night 

Barbeque 

One of our favorite things to do here is Barbeque . It is hot sooo hot that using the oven is really not that appealing so Barbeque it is 

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SHIZZO Deep Grill Basket With Removable Handle Value Set, Barbecue BBQ Grilling Basket, Stainless Steel Large Folding Grilling baskets, Portable Outdoor...

ImportanceofOrganization
The Importance of Organization

When we moved to Ecuador, we actually sold everything that we had in the United States. We went from a 4 bedroom house, three bathrooms, 3 car garage.. To a two bedroom house in Ecuador and no garage, in the States, we had the typical cluttered garage, closets overflowing and a kitchen overflowing with gadgets. Selling all our belongs was a bit overwhelming for us. I think as people in general, we tend to attach ourselves to these objects that we possess. As most Americans we had two or three of everything. Our wardrobe consisted of Winter, Spring, Fall, and Summer clothes. When we moved here, we literally came with 5 suitcases, most of our furniture was made here by local craftsman. Little by little we accumulated what we needed. Our wardrobe went from being Seasonal clothing to shorts, bathing suits and sundresses. Our house literally has no closet space which I eventually added off my bathroom so we really had to change our mode of thinking ... Less is really more . We also realized the importance of keeping things organized and no keep things you don't really need, so I will impart some of this wisdom as well as products we use to keep organization in this post.

Keeping your space organized is essential for a stress-free and productive lifestyle. Here's a concise guide to help you achieve and maintain a clutter-free environment:

1. Declutter Regularly: Start by decluttering your space regularly. Get rid of items you no longer need or use. Donate, recycle, or discard things responsibly.

2. Assign a Place for Everything: Designate specific spots for items based on their frequency of use and importance. This helps prevent items from piling up and makes it easier to find what you need.

3. Utilize Storage Solutions: Invest in storage solutions like shelves, bins, and drawer organizers. These tools maximize space and keep items easily accessible.

    For this wicker baskets and dividers are a life saver!! Here some we use.  

 

4. Create Daily Habits: Make organizing a part of your daily routine. Spend a few minutes each day tidying up and putting things back in their designated places.

5. Digital Organization: Extend organization to your digital space. Organize files on your computer, phone, and cloud storage to easily locate documents when needed.

6. Use Labels: Labeling containers and shelves makes it simple to identify the contents, reducing the chances of misplacement.

7. One In, One Out: Adopt a "one in, one out" policy for certain items, like clothes or gadgets. When you acquire something new, let go of something you no longer use.

8. Set Boundaries: Establish boundaries for different areas in your space. This encourages you and others to respect organization efforts.

9. Optimize Your Workspace: Keep your workspace tidy and free from distractions. An organized workspace enhances focus and productivity.

10. Regular Maintenance: Regularly review your organizational system and make necessary adjustments. As your needs change, so should your organization methods.

By following these steps, you can maintain a well-organized space that fosters a sense of clarity, calmness, and efficiency in your daily life.

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RelaxingLivingSpace
How to create a Relaxing Living space
One of the things that was important to me when I moved to Ecuador was to create a space that was completely Zen like where when you entered our space you just felt ..... Ahhhh .... now this is relaxing.  One way that I did that was with lots of plants . My family loves to look at them but since I went a bit crazy with the concept, they hate watering duty. Which can take up to a hour of so.  Another thing that I did was lots of outdoor lighting because we entertain a lot, and everyone loves coming to our house . . Another thing that I did was use lots of big area rugs and I have to say my favorite are recycled plastic. They don't fade , last forever and to clean take outside and just hose off.  Another thing that I did was use lots of baskets, wicker and and candles. I also use aromatherapy and automizers for this, so everything always smells fresh and great.  When I painted the house, I used a soothing paing colors 
and if I did want a more stand out feature I only did one accent wall in each room with a brighter color

1. Soft Colors: Choose a soothing color palette with soft, neutral hues like pastel blues, greens, and earthy tones. These colors promote a sense of serenity and comfort.

2. Natural Elements: Incorporate natural elements like wooden furniture, stone accents, and indoor plants. These elements bring the outdoors in and create a harmonious connection with nature.

3. Cozy Textures: Add plush rugs, fluffy cushions, and soft throws to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. These textures provide comfort and warmth to your space.

4. Minimalism: Embrace a minimalist approach to decor to reduce visual clutter and create a calming atmosphere. Use only essential items and keep surfaces clear.

5. Soft Lighting: Opt for soft, warm lighting with dimmer switches. This type of lighting helps set a relaxing ambiance and reduces eye strain.

6. Relaxing Scents: Use essential oil diffusers, scented candles, or potpourri with calming scents like lavender, chamomile, or eucalyptus to enhance relaxation.

7. Tranquil Artwork: Hang artwork with soothing and nature-inspired themes, such as landscapes, abstract watercolors, or serene photographs.

8. Zen Space: Designate a specific area for relaxation, meditation, or yoga. Add floor cushions, a small water feature, and calming decor to create a Zen-like retreat.

9. Personal Touches: Incorporate personal items that hold positive memories and evoke a sense of happiness and comfort.

10. Decluttered Space: Keep your space tidy and clutter-free. A clean environment contributes to a more relaxing and organized mindset.

Remember, the key to a relaxing home decor is to create a space that reflects your personal tastes and preferences while embracing elements that evoke tranquility and peacefulness.

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DecorateShelvingSpace
How to make a House a Home, Decorate your Shelves!
Our home is very important to me. I spent years working long hours and usually more than one job so now I love spending time at home, and I love to make our space beautiful and calming. A place to share meals with friends, a place to barbeque, play in the pool, have wine in the jacuzzi. A place where you generally feel peace. I have also come to realize that while organization is important it's also important to have your memories displayed, what is precious in your life. What makes you smile, Being surrounded by love, beautiful memories and making more memories in a beautiful place now that is what's important.

Decorating shelving space can be a fun and creative way to showcase your personality and style while also adding functionality to the room. Here are some tips to help you decorate your shelving space:

1. Declutter and Organize: Before decorating, declutter the shelves and organize the items you want to display. This will give you a clean canvas to work with and prevent the shelves from looking cluttered.

2. Mix and Match: Combine different types of items to add visual interest. Mix books, decorative objects, plants, and sentimental pieces to create a diverse and balanced display.

3. Balance and Symmetry: Achieve balance and symmetry by placing similar items on opposite ends or creating visually equal groupings. This creates a harmonious and organized look.

4. Varying Heights: Play with varying heights to add dimension and depth to your display. Use taller items towards the back and shorter ones in the front.

5. Use Decorative Containers: Incorporate decorative boxes, baskets, or jars to store smaller items or keep loose items organized.

6. Add Greenery: Include potted plants or small succulents to bring life and freshness to the shelves. Greenery adds a natural touch and can soften the overall look.

 

7. Incorporate Art and Frames: Lean or hang framed artwork against the back of the shelves to create a layered and gallery-like effect.

8. Consider Lighting: If possible, add lighting to highlight specific items or create an ambiance in the shelving area.

9. Play with Colors: Incorporate a color scheme that complements the room's overall decor. Use color-coordinated book spines or choose decor pieces that match the room's palette.

10. Personalize: Showcase personal mementos, photographs, or travel souvenirs to make the shelving space feel uniquely yours.

11. Rotate and Update: Don't be afraid to change and update the display from time to time. Rotate items or add new ones to keep the shelves looking fresh and interesting.

Remember that decorating shelving space is a chance to let your creativity shine, so have fun experimenting with different arrangements and styles until you achieve a look that suits your taste and enhances the overall ambiance of the room.

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Fall Party Ideas
Fall Party Ideas 

If you are like us and love entertaining like we do, then I have some ideas for you! Here in Ecuador, we don't really have seasons. It's hot on the coast all the time and the only difference in our seasons is Rainy Season and Dry Season. They are both the same temperature, and our Rainy Season only lasts about 3 months out of a year and then it's a gentle rain sometimes at night or in the early morning.  One of the hardest things for me living here is you really have no distinction in Seasons as every day is the same. So that being said I try to celebrate every month by doing something to keep with the season vibe. Here is a list of party ideas to celebrate Fall. We may not have any changing leaves to enjoy, cooler weather, or be wearing a jacket but we can have fun! 

 

  1. Apple Cider Party .. When my children were small, we loved to go apple picking in the local apple orchards. Part of the fun was the caramel apples, apple cider, and fried apple pies.  So, keep in spirit, have an apple themed potluck and see what happens. Make some caramel apples, some apple pie. 

 

  1. Pumpkin Patch. My kids loved the pumpkin patch and who doesn't. Picking out your favorite pumpkin for Jack o Lanterns, I can smell the pumpkin pie baking right now. Do a buffet style party where everyone does a fall dish with a Jack o Lantern carving. 

 

  1. Oktoberfest … Have everyone bring a pack of their favorite artisanal beer to share and their favorite appetizers. Serve the large pretzels. 

 

  1. Halloween Dinner Party . .. Do a costume party with spooky appetizers, spice up the wine with some Fall Sangria.  Maybe add a scavenger hunt. 

 

  1. Backyard Campfire Party . Do a weenie Roast, Make some smores , of course with a condiment bar. Lots of chili for the hotdogs, shredded cheese, onions, relish, and all the goodies .  sit around the fire and  enjoy a bit of time with your friends .

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SeaSidePlants
Plants and living by the Sea
If you read my previous blog post, then you know that I have what one would delicately call a Plant Problem. In which my reply is usually it's not really a problem as long as you have access to a plant rescue center or nursery. Gardening has been so much fun for me In Ecuador. What was a few plants somehow morphed into many plants and this is the first time in my life that I have lived on the ocean. There has been a definite learning curve. Some plants are like hey it's not a problem some, are you crazy! I cannot live here ! Those are the diva ones. Below I'm listing why it's hard on plants to live here and a list of some plants that actually do well seaside. One that is not usually listed but is my favorite is Hibiscus it seems to thrive seaside with lots of water. I'm also including some ideas and products to make seaside gardening easier 
Salt air can be hard on plants because the salt particles can accumulate on their leaves and disrupt their ability to take in nutrients and water. This can lead to dehydration, reduced photosynthesis, and even tissue damage. Additionally, salt can accumulate in the soil, affecting its pH and mineral content, which further impacts plant growth. The leaves turn yellow, the edges looked burned, and it can't absorb nutrients, the sea also has a strange way of coating the leaves as well so washing them off with a quick spray of your hose is an excellent idea.  

ISo here it is to make your gardening choices seaside a bit easier a list of the top ten best seaside plants. 

1. **Beach Grass (Ammophila )**
   - Beach grasses are well-known for stabilizing sand dunes and tolerating salt spray.
   
2. **Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens)**
   - This flowering plant produces bright yellow blooms and can handle coastal conditions.
   
3. **Sea Lavender
(Limonium spp.)**
   - Sea lavender offers delicate purple, pink, or white flowers that thrive near the ocean.
   
4. **Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)**
   - Rosemary is a fragrant herb that can withstand salt-laden winds and sandy soil.
   
5. **Succulents (Various Species)**
   - Many succulents, like sedums and agaves, are salt-tolerant and can add unique textures to coastal gardens.
   
6. **Lantana (Lantana spp.)**
   - Lantana is a colorful and hardy shrub that can endure coastal conditions with proper care.
   
7. **Oleander (Nerium oleander)**
   - Oleander is a robust shrub with showy flowers that can tolerate salt exposure.
   
8. **Bayberry (Myrica spp.)**
   - Bayberry shrubs are known for their waxy berries and ability to thrive in sandy, salty soils.
   
9. **Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)**
   - Society garlic produces clusters of lavender flowers and is resistant to coastal challenges.
   
10. **Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa)**
    - Also known as New Zealand Christmas tree, pohutukawa is a coastal tree with vibrant red blooms.

Before planting any of these species, it's important to consider your specific climate and local conditions, as well as the needs of the particular plants. Proper soil preparation, watering, and maintenance will contribute to their success in seaside environments.

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Prefect Fall Porch
How to Create the Perfect Fall Porch
I love all Seasons, but I especially love Fall! In Kentucky the leaves are usually spectacular with every imaginable color, there are pumpkin spice lattes, beef stews, cornbread, Leaf piles to jump into, Pumpkin Patches to visit, Apples to pick and the customary Apple cider, Apple Fritters. The air is crisp and chilly buy warm enough to hike and enjoy everything outside as well.  I always decorated for every Season and making my porch look cozy and Fall welcome was one of my favorite ways to welcome Fall.