Category Archives: home sweet home

season for change

 

Four score and five years ago…

Once upon a time there was…

Did I ever tell you about the time…

 

Hmmm?   How does one just launch into the announcement that she is closing up her blog?

Say…that wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.   Yes, yes.  It is true.  Stepping My Way to Bliss will be closing at the end of August.  There are many, many reasons for it but here are just a couple:

1.  If you have ever read my About page, you know how and why this all got started.  Some of those reasons now seem invalid.  For example, Bliss House doesn’t seem new to me anymore.  It fits and feels like an old, comfortable shoe.  It is my home  not just my new house.  Maybe we will be here for another 10, 20 years, maybe not.  In any case, I don’t feel like I am “arriving” any longer.

2.  The “Stepping” part of my blog title has come full circle.  Once Belle Fille got married in May, I felt like there was closure to being a step-parent.  I mean, yes, of course I am still (and always will be) a Belle Mere. But when Belle Fille said “I do”, she also became her own woman.  She now belongs with another.  Our parental responsibilities have shifted from active participants to casual by-standers.

3.  Now that I am working more, my time is more valuable.  Valuable enough that I am not sure I want to spend as much of it in front of my computer.  There are many other things I want to have time for so I am always seeking balance.

With those reasons (and others), I almost decided to quit blogging altogether.  When chere Fiona ended her blog last March, my sadness was mingled with jealousy.  I started asking myself why I continued to blog.  There really isn’t a theme (or point?) to my blog.  I am not a “Fashion Blogger” or a “Minimalist Blogger” or a “Foodie Blogger Extraordinaire”.  I am just kind of an “all over the place blogger” which was making posting more and more challenging.  I don’t know why I feel I must pigeon-hole myself but I guess I want to.  When a theme is involved, it keeps me centered and focused. I decided that if I was going to continue blogging, I was going to have to simplify my methods.

I began thinking about what makes me tick.  What  things /topics do I really love?  Of course there are many.  But I kept coming around to three basic things (um, these would be the things on the shallow end of my deep thinking pool–just clarifying): I love all things vintage; I love all things French; and I love all things chic.  Sound familiar?  VintageFrenchChic is the name of my Etsy store…definitely a pattern.  So I decided, if I was to continue blogging, I needed to streamline a bit.  Voila! A new blog…Vintage French Chic.

Some of you have already found my new blog.  Others have noticed my username change.  This will be a new format for me to continue writing (if you can call it that), experimenting, and sharing with the masses  the few who do read my blog.  I have designed the blog with simplicity in mind.  I will only have three categories to post in (Vintage, French, Chic) so hopefully this will keep me centered…and creative.  Another big change…I will no longer be Mistress Bliss.  Well, OK, I will be if you want me to be but my anonymous days are over–to a degree.  The new blog will definitely be a little more personal in feel and content.

So I will see out the end of August on Stepping My Way to Bliss with a couple more posts, including one last Visible Monday and the photo challenge.  If you would like to take a peek over at Vintage French Chic, I would love to have you for a visit.

Thank you for reading Stepping My Way to Bliss.   It has been a very enjoyable way to fly.  I am amazed by all the great people I have “met” through this journey.

Au revoir.

~~Mistress Bliss~~

UPDATE:  Changed my mind…this is the last post for Stepping My Way to Bliss.  Makes sense, don’t you think?

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Filed under 1948 series, awards wall, backyard excursions, beauty notes, book reviews, confessions, creative endeavors, doggy "tails", family matters, fashion cents, french twist, giveaway information, home sweet home, manners and etiquette, minimizing, out and about, traveling, Uncategorized, vintage finds, visible monday, weekly photo challenge

back to the boudoir…

but not for a sulk.  Just time for some changes.  You may recall that Master Bliss and I changed the color of our bedroom walls not long ago.  I am very pleased with the results.  There was no active plan to change anything else in the bedroom except the lampshades.  The ones on the lamps are the original (from Pier One years ago) and one got damaged beyond repair (you know those romantic scenes in movies when scarves are thrown over a table lamp to create a mood–ahem…not recommended).  After we painted, I was dead set on finding black toile shades to replace the old ones.  I searched high and low on Etsy and Ebay first, hoping to buy used.  Then I searched other stores online.  I just could not find exactly what I wanted.  Finally, while grocery shopping at our local superstore, I found a different print set on sale for only $7.50 a piece.  They weren’t toile print but they had black and cream and it was close enough–especially for the price.  I brought them home, decided I could live with them, and gave up the toile dream.

 

Well, a couple of weeks ago I came upon a garage sale just around the corner from where I live.  The woman was selling a practically new (used for 1-2 months then her husband decided he hated it) queen bed set that had…can you guess?…a toile print on it with black and cream ticking accents.  The set included the reversible bedspread, bedskirt and two shams for $40 all in the original packaging that had a sale ticket on it for $175.  It immediately appealed to all of my inner french girl’s sensibilities.  BUT I did not buy it just because it was a good deal and toile without getting Master Bliss’ opinion first.  He has to live with it too plus the woman was ridding herself of it because of her husband’s poor tastes.  He checked it out on the way home from his doings that day.  When he got home he said, “Sure, go ahead if you want it…looks like a good deal.”  When I returned to get it the lady said to me, “Yeah, your husband said he didn’t even understand why you thought he needed to see it first.”  Well, I be.  I think he likes having the darker color contrast in the room and it isn’t all flowery as before.  Upon further inspection of the set, I found that it is made by Rose Tree Home (which still didn’t mean much to me until I googled it) and originally retailed for $350.  I’m thinking I did fairly well.  When I first put it on I got a little freaked out because I thought there were monkeys on it.  Monkeys reminiscent of scary flying Wizard of Oz monkeys.  But they are really dogs.  Dogs that look like monkeys.  Monkey dogs.

Before:

After:

Scary monkey dog close-up:

A few days after this all transpired I got a book from the library that I had requested through the library loan program.  I am a big fan of “Romantic Homes” magazine and this book, “HERS”, is written by Jacqueline deMontravel (editor of the magazine).  I absolutely love it.  I will be buying it later because I know I am not going to want to give it back on July 17th.  As I was flipping through its fantastic, idea inspired pages I saw this:

 

(pp.54 & 55; “hers~design with a feminine touch”)

Vraiment?  Looks like I am on the same page with someone else.  The only difference is that she gets paid for her bright ideas.  And of course now I want to paint the trim creamy white in our room.  Oh, Master Bliss…!

Do you get your decorating ideas from magazines/design books?  Or do you go with your gut?

~~Mistress Bliss~~

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Filed under french twist, home sweet home

the boudoir sulk…a tutorial

I am blessed with being married to a person who I get along with so well.  Do you have that?  It is a great thing.  We are one of “those” couples who rarely disagree, see eye to eye on most things and can later laugh when we do bicker about something.  Well, Master Bliss has made a decision today that I don’t agree with.  We  (he) talked about it before making the decision, he slept on it and still made it.  He is even driving two hours one way to “pick up” his decision.   And while he is doing that, I have taken to the boudoir to sulk.  I plan to remain in this state of sulkiness until around 3:45PM then I have to go to water aerobics.  This is a tutorial on how to have a successful boudoir sulk:

1.  Must create the perfect atmosphere.  For me, this is low lighting but enough to see by for reading and blog writing.  And lots of pillows.

2.  All necessary, feel good things must be at an arm’s reach.  Pellegrino, check.  Coffee in Cinderella mug, check.  Hand lotion, check.  Nook, check.  Handbag, check.  Computer, yep.  Cellphone, somewhere.  Bra discreetly hidden under pillows for when someone comes to the door, check (it is impossible to sulk with a bra on–one must be completely comfortable in her vintage pajamas).

bra hiding pillow area

3.  Food consumption must be well thought out.  This is what I eat during a sulk (oh, OK, and other times):  caprese salad, juicy peach and dark chocolate with a hint of salt.  Did you know that mozzarella cheese has some sort of ingredient in it known to lift a mood?  Boosts the serotonin somehow or something like that.  Figure it couldn’t hurt to try today.  And we all know the medicinal goodness of chocolate.

4.  Buy something.  I bought this book on Amazon.

Already Pretty: Learning to Love Your Body by Learning to Dress it Well

(buy yours here or visit sally’s site, already pretty)

5.  Check the mail for packages.  If nothing has come* then brood about it for a minute, suck on some more mozz, and then think about the things that are yet to arrive.

6.  Take time to meditate on deeper things.  For example, if my inner french girl and my inner hillbilly girl got into a fight, who would win?  This was followed by, when Master Bliss returns home with his “decision”, will the boudoir sulk sufficiently defuse any sarcastic remarks?  Will it enable me to “laugh”?  I hope so.

7.  Nap.  Which, truthfully, may be the easiest, most helpful step to do.

Even Rockefeller, who is always by my side, had a sixth sense about leaving me alone.  He took his sulk to the living room.

How do you sulk?  Is it therapeutic?  Does it help you?

~~Mistress Bliss~~

*I am waiting on a dress from Talbots–which is taking forever!– plus a couple of things ordered for others.

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Filed under family matters, home sweet home

writer’s block…

…so enjoy another lily.

I do have things to say but they are all jumbled in my mind.  I’ll be back…I think. : )

~~Mistress Bliss~~

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Filed under creative endeavors, home sweet home

explosion

I told you I don’t get tired of taking flower pictures.  These are of my lilies in the front yard yesterday.

~~Mistress Bliss~~

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Filed under creative endeavors, home sweet home

vintage finds ~~ the perfect tablecloth sur la table (pour moi)

 

Serendipitous.

Great word for a great find.  Earlier this month I decided to poke my head in our local antique mall for some timely therapy.  Wedding prep was still in full swing and I needed a pick me up.  Some gals opt for a salon visit, this gal vies for antiquing therapy.  How delighted I was to find the  perfect tablecloth.  It fit all of my “perfect world” requirements for buying:

It was vintage.

It was used, or recycled, as we like to say now.

It was “french”.

And it was “chic”.

I have been half-heartedly looking for a tablecloth for some time because I accidentally spilled some fingernail polish remover on our dining room table.  It is not a big “stain” but it is an eye sore.  It took the finish right off.  So until I get ambitious with some chalk paint and re-do the table, a tablecloth became very necessary.

Many moons ago, in a house far removed from here, I had decorated my kitchen in a vintage–circa 1940s/50s–feel.  One of the things I would pick up at garage sales or antique stores were the old tea towels.  Absolutely love them and there are so many cool prints out there.  My favorite find was this one:

 

I just adore the French-themed print.  I found another one that similarly matched it but not perfectly–they complement one another, if you will.  Well!  How do you think I felt when I saw this hanging on a display?

 

Bonjour, bebe!  As I deftly unfolded it to check its size and condition, my heart was wild with palpitations.  Just beautiful!  The primary four colors of red, blue, yellow, and green match perfectly with the same colors I have with my Fiesta wear.  The blue in it matches my table and chairs.  It fit perfectly as a “topper” so I layered it (as the French often do) over a plain white cloth.  Now most people would stop there but my “inner old lady” got totally paranoid about something spilling on it and ruining it for life.  It’s not like I can just go get another one.  So out came the plastic cover.  I know.  So pas chic.  But it is of the utmost necessity to preserve this WORK OF ART, people.  Not to mention that I smile every time I look at my dining room table now.

On that same visit to the antique mall I found this  too:

It was just crazy…as if all the Frenchness that one could find in my little podunk town was all lining up in one fell swoop.  Merci!  I will take that too.

Don’t you love it when you find something that is SO obviously meant to be?  If anyone would like to know how to make a certain French pastry, let me know.  I can look it up and see if there is a “simple” way to make it.

Have a fantabulous weekend!

~~Mistress Bliss~~

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Filed under home sweet home, vintage finds

visible monday ~~ front porch sitting

There almost was not a Visible Monday post for today.  In fact, I had a post in mind that I was going to entitle “Zero Visibility” and write about my crazy week and share a vintage find with you all.  Instead I came up this lame-brain idea.  Before I share, please understand:

1.  There has been a crash and burn since the wedding.

2.  I started a new job last Monday (yes, for those having trouble with the math, TWO days after the wedding…more on that later).

3.  I have had zero interest in taking photos de moi because of reasons 1 & 2.

Soooo….

Today has been a very lazy day.  Master Bliss, Rockefeller and I took a walk in the 88*F heat… and that would be all I have accomplished today.  When we returned home, I showered and decided to do two more worthwhile things:

1.  Run an experiment on my hair.

2.  Sit on the front porch and read.

After the shower I put on a casual pair of white capris and my navy blue striped tee.  I pulled my wet hair back in a ponytail (experimenting to see how smooth it dries like this to avoid hot irons) and put on some lip gloss.  Master Bliss came in the bathroom and asked, “Where are you going?”  I looked at him blankly.  Hmmm…when do I ever go out with wet hair and no make-up (unless exercising)?  I replied, “To the front porch.  I just didn’t want to look like a hillbilly sitting out there.”  He said, “Oh…as if.”  Little does he know I am one chin hair away from going out there in my pjs some day.  In the meantime, here is my take on how NOT to look like a hillbilly while front porch sitting:

Ooops!  There’s that dirty mirror again.  Sorry.   No make-up on?  No problem.  Sunglasses hide all.  And a little lip-gloss adds some color.

Close-up mirror shots are not recommended, however.   Back it up.  But not before I zoom in on another porch sitting accessory….amber stud earrings–bien sur!

I still can’t believe I almost didn’t buy these in the Dominican Republic.  I love them.

If you have a front porch, I invite you to sit a spell on it while you sip your Long Island iced tea (please never a Budweiser) and read a great book.  I am off to start my very first Agatha Christie novel ever.  Please go visit Not Dead Yet Style for other great, and far more inspiring, outfits.

Enjoy Monday!

~~Mistress Bliss~~

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Filed under creative endeavors, home sweet home, visible monday

popcorn euphoria

We all know that there is precious little good news to share in this world.  So it is with great joy and satisfaction that I can share with you the following.  This little article was in “The Week”, April 13, 2012 issue:

“The Health Benefits of Popcorn”

“Popcorn offers more than crunch and empty calories.  A new study shows that the snack food is more nutritious than fruits and vegetables in some respects-provided you don’t slather it with butter and salt.  Researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania ran test on several different popcorn brands and found  that the hulls-the tough fragments that can get stuck in your teeth-contained surprisingly high levels of antioxidants called polyphenols, which have been found to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.  A serving of popcorn provides more than twice the polyphenols as a similar serving of most fruits and vegetables, and because it contains little water, popcorn’s nutritional benefits are more highly concentrated.  As a whole grain, popcorn also boasts higher concentrations of fiber than cereals or breads do.  ‘Popcorn may the be the perfect snack food’ study author Joe Vinson tells ScienceDaily.com, and the hull fragments in particular are ‘nutritional gold nuggets.’  When air-popped, the snack contains far fewer calories than snacks like chips or trail mix.  Popcorn does, however, lack the important vitamins and minerals that are packed into foods like broccoli and bananas.”

You do realize what this means in Master Bliss’ and my world, right?  It means that our almost nightly indulgence of this:

(i just need to add a multi-vitamin and i am all set)

is not only making us insanely happy (we are simple people, what can I say?) but we have been inadvertently stuffing ourselves full of antioxidants in the process.  However, this does not explain why I was sick with a bad cold all this past week but nonetheless it is great news to know that we are noshing on such beneficial goodness.  Guilt free eating–I love it.  Now I must find conclusive and supportive evidence that proves Dirty Bastard beer promotes weight loss (I know it doesn’t…and it has been eliminated from the nightly routine for some time now.  Oh the sadness).

Will knowing this about popcorn persuade you to eat it more…and often?

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Filed under family matters, home sweet home

introductions

vintagefrenchchic:

I would like to make an introduction. Please meet my friend, Lisa, through this post I have reblogged. She is a new voice in the world of blogging and one that should be heard.

Lisa and I go back to Middle School where we became best friends in 8th grade. We had a blast together, having many of the same classes and shared experiences. Graduation took us in different directions but she always stayed in my heart. Many years after High School we reconnected and have enjoyed our friendship anew–through marriages, children, living abroad (her—my life is the less exciting one), traveling, etc. but we have done so almost entirely through letters and emails. We have had the rare privilege of visiting in person but only every few years or so. But it doesn’t seem to matter…the time and space…because we continue to share a special bond.

A few years ago, when she was still living in Bermuda, Facebook became the new way of “keeping in touch”. She took to it like a duck to water…me, not so much. I trepidatiously went the blogging route instead. Well, now, she has too…although she is still proudly a FB junkie. : )

The subject of her blog will resonate with many women who are in their child-bearing years because Lisa is choosing to write–to share–her experiences with infertility. She has been blessed with one child and is in the process of trying to conceive again. Given the example of her writing above, I believe she is going to be an honest and poignant voice about her experiences…and yet, through it all, you will not miss her humor, wit and passion for life.
Welcome to blogging, my friend. Enjoy the ride.

~~Mistress Bliss~~

PS   If you don’t think we have a connection, then how do you explain we just posted to our respective blogs at the exact same time?  Hmmm???  Tell me.

Originally posted on Black Panty Salvation:


I have a spreadsheet of baby names carefully collected and culled through over many years.  Kaher is on my list and this is why:

Several years ago I was on flight bound for San Francisco and my seat partner was a young boy, maybe 10 or 11 years old.  While rarely looking up from his Nintendo DS (or some gadget, insert curmudgeonly shoulder shrug here), he requested of me the following information:

What is your name?

Lisa.  What is yours?

Kaher.  Do you drink beer?

Yes, sometimes.

I will not drink beer.  Drinking beer is bad.

Yes, sometimes.

Do you have a husband?

I have a boyfriend.

You should get married.  I will get married.

How do you know?

Because you’re supposed to get married and have children. *rolls eyes*

He peppers his quiz with pointers on the game he’s playing, something about driving really fast and collecting more and more…

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spring walk shock

 

I know. I know.  Get over it already about the wacky weather.  But I just can’t.  MY TULIPS HAVE OPENED.  The rule is:  Tulips are to bloom in May.  This is why we have the annual Tulip FESTIVAL in Holland, Michigan every year…in MAY.  What the heck kind of festival will there be this year?  The Holland Tulip Stem Festival?  Sounds beautiful.  Let’s not forget that Belle Fille is getting married on May 12th.  I had visions in my pre-planning wedding head of colorful tulips and dutch dancers as a lovely backdrop on our big day.  Can there even be dutch dancers if there are no tulips?  See–we just don’t know because tulips have never bloomed in March before.

Our area tulip trees, cherry blossoms, and red buds have either already passed their prime or are in full splendor right now.  The next three pictures were taken on a walk yesterday.

 Sigh.  I guess I just have to give in to the insanity and enjoy it while I can.

Rockefeller doesn’t seem to mind the unusual warmth of the sun.  Wherever there is a beam, he tries to catch it:

Happy Spring to one and all!

~~Mistress Bliss~~

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