Monday, September 19, 2016

Finding Savannah: Healing Children from A Prescription Drug - Singulair/Montelukast

The Headlines:

My daughter took Singulair (generic is Montelukast). 

It had devastating effects that seemed to linger.

Here's how we mended her...

You can do it too!

Life is precious.  Many of us don't even realize it.  We go about our daily business.  Things are great.  Until they're not.

That's where I was in my family almost 2 years ago.  I wrote the full story last year... you can read about it HERE.  I'll warn you, it's not pretty.  I basically gave my daughter a pill (Singulair/Montelukast) to aid with her asthma and it ended up slowly suffocating the life out of her.  Not literally, obviously, but very figuratively.  I nominated myself for BAD MOM of the YEAR Award.  Since then, it's been a long, windy road but she's almost back.

As I start this post I want to reiterate I'm not a doctor.  I'm simply a Mom with a daughter.  A daughter who had an illness that became a huge problem.  A daughter who was prescribed a little pink pill to conquer a sickness that ended up making her a shell of the person she used to be.  Arguably, worse off than she was without it.  I also want to make it clear if you have a child or know any person who is taking the drug Singular/Montelukast - be aware - go in with your eyes wide open.  Because the problems that come with these drugs may hit you on the head like a tidal wave OR they could sneak up out of no where and knock you out cold.  Finally, I want to attribute much of our success in this healing process to a Facebook Support Group which you can find HERE dedicated to helping individuals get their lives back after having them stolen by this horrible drug.  It is to them, the administrators and the contributors, that we owe everything.

Once Upon A time

It was years ago when my then 3 year old little girl got a persistent cough that wouldn't go away.  She went to the ER right before her OWN Birthday Party for it, was admitted to the doctor multiple times for it and as a new Mom I was scared by it.

Fairly quickly, we were given several choices by her pediatrician on how to handle this scary cough.  I picked the one I thought easiest and most effective.  A pill she could take daily called Singulair/Montelukast.  Because she, at first, took it very sporadically (only when she'd have coughing "fits")  I never attributed her change in behavior to the pill.  But as the years went by, she took the pill more and the dosage went up.  As time went on, she was showing signs of anxiety, depression, OCD, she was unable to focus, always in a fog, she couldn't remember things, she was crying a lot and completely irrational.  My daughter was also having physical problems.  She was shaking and had sleeping and stomach issues.  She had (and still deals with) an occasional bloody nose and there are reports that Singulair/Montelukast can exacerbate that as well.  Bottom line, after a few years - my little girl was no where to be found.  I was unaware but while the pill my daughter took had gotten rid of her cough it simultaneously, completely, messed with her brain.

I was lost and confused.  She was more lost and confused.  My husband and I couldn't figure out where the change came from.  Was she going through her hormonal years early?  Until one day after a horribly emotional Brownie camping trip, followed by an old fashioned cold (see OTC avoidance below) - did it hit me (it helped that, on this day, she said,  "I often feel like crying for no reason.")  My God - it was the Singulair/Montelukast.  I yanked her off of it.  **Though that is controversial - see below.  I now wish I would have tapered her.  But for me, at that moment, I just needed to get it out of her body.

Life After Singulair/Montelukast 

The change was noticeable.  My little girl was in there again.  I ran to the doctor because I was scared of what was to come.  I was sure her asthma cough would come roaring back.  I was wrong.  Perhaps she grew out of it at that exact same time but I tend to believe the Himalayan Salt Lamp had something to do with her good luck.  I wrote that story HERE... I think it could be part of a Natural Asthma Cure.

But as I continued to rejoice at our good fortune... over the next year and a half I noticed she had a tendency to go into what I called the "Singulair Slump."  She would, for a time, go back into this very dark place as if she was on the pill again.  I didn't understand why.  So I began to pay closer attention.  I noticed pretty quickly it was after she would come home from a sleep over or after I gave her an over the counter (OTC) drug of some sort.  Like a cold or an allergy medicine.  But other times it would happen out of no where.  It was odd, because on the one hand she was thriving - on the other she was struggling.

That's when I, once again, reached out to the amazing people at that Facebook page I told you about above... I asked them if anyone else had experienced this "Singulair Slump"?  The answer was a resounding YES.

Singulair/Montelukast Residual Effects

Now fasten your seat belts folks cause what follows is a lot of information.  Information which some may call complete crap or total voo-doo.  That's up to you to decide.  But from where I sit... it's our very real and true story.

There's talk that due to the nature of the drug sometimes there can be residual effects that are triggered by certain things.  See, Singulair/Montelukast works by changing the neurotransmitters in the brain and therefore can completely alter the messaging system there.  Read THIS ARTICLE  to understand that.  Because of that, it can throw some immune systems into over drive (term used is overactive immune system) making the patient more susceptible to ailments, including but not limited to, something called "leaky gut" syndrome.  That's when the digestive lining in your tract can become compromised and cause toxins to leak out into the body which in turn leads to depression, bloating, sleeplessness and brain fog.  Watch more about"Leaky Gut Syndrome" in THIS VIDEO from Dr. Oz... it's a real thing guys!  

So the goal after getting off Singulair/Montelukast then becomes repairing the damage that seems to be left behind from the drug.  Think of it as a deep bruise on the brain/body that needs some time and HELP to heal.  There are natural things we can take and artificial things we should avoid that can aid us in recovery.

This is pretty simple.  It's stuff normal healthy adults and children shouldn't have in their diet.  It's just in this case, it's truly imperative for the daily health and well being of prior Singulair/Montelukast patients.
  • Aspartame 
  • MSG
  • Preservatives (also contained in some flu shots)
  • Artificial colors/flavors
  • OTC medications: specifically (but not limited to) ALLERGY MEDS & cold meds
  • Fluoride treatments
  • inhaled corticosteroids (like Pulmicort or Flovent )
  • lack of sleep

It's called by some the "Threshold Theory."  When a past Singulair/Montelukast patient goes over this certain threshold with one of the items above - it throws them right back into the "Singulair Slump."

This is not as simple.  There's lots to do here.  But if you think about it, it all makes sense.  Essentially you need to repair what was damaged in the body by the drug.  Depending upon how much damage was done... you may need to do a lot.

**Discalimer - This is what we've tried and what has worked for us.  I'm not a professional nutritionist or doctor.  This is simply trial and error.  But because everything on the following list is natural and rather well studied I feel confident there aren't too many wrong turns a person can take.

  • Fish Oil - is brain food.  It can help repair what's been damaged.  Watch THIS VIDEO for more on that
  • D3 
  • Tumeric - in a powder form (but not just the cooking spice) with black pepper in it.  It too helps brain function.  It's now being used to combat Alzheimers.
  • Magnesium Transdermal Spray - is a healing agent which helps in the proper functioning of the cells in your body.  Read THIS ARTICLE for more information.  
  • Quercitin - is an anti-oxidant and natural anti-inflammatory so it works as a natural anti-histamine.  It will aid recovery in both the brain and body.  THIS ARTICLE should help explain more. 
  • B-12
  • Organic foods  - Lots of leafy greens, apples, coconut oil, parsley, non-histamine foods - some choose to follow a completely non-histamine diet.  We do not.
  • Probiotic - to help fix any "Leaky Gut" issues caused by the pink pill.
  • Gaba - is a neurotransmitter that is natural occurring in all brains.  But some of us have a Gaba deficiency (often found in autistic & ADHD kids).  As mentioned earlier, due to the intake of Singulair/Montelukast, some neurotransmitters in a patients brain are interrupted and impaired.  If Gaba is low in a system - it can throw a person into a tailspin.  See THIS ARTICLE .  There are supplements to take like Gaba Calm, but Gaba can also increase on its own when using other vitamins/minerals or by practicing...
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture 
My daughter has tried or is using all the above except for meditation, acupuncture or Gaba at this point.

Getting Your Child Back 

As you do all of the things above... you will begin to immediately see a new person.  Or perhaps you'll just get the old one back.  It isn't slow, it's fast.  It's noticeable and it's incredible.  I get emotional every time I think about it.  I'm crying right now writing this.  To see you daughter genuinely smile... is the best gift of all.  She has become a brighter student, a better dancer, a happier friend.  She can laugh when she used to cry.  She can recover when she used to crumble.  She is my baby girl again.  Not for long... childhood goes fast my friends.

But it can still go dark.  I test it.  A few months back, she had some Oreo cookies and a drink with some aspartame in it and the next day, Mother's Day, she got upset: "I'm feeling really left out.  You and Grandma are getting all the attention."  I responded, "that's because it's Mother's Day dear."  She replied, "Well, if it was just you it would be fine but it's both of you and I'm feeling bad."  Me again: "Honey, you're not a Mother."  See, the irrationality quickly crept in.  Or last weekend we had company for 2 nights (she got no sleep)... the day the company left she was mopey all day.  She just goes into a shell.  I know what you're thinking but it's beyond what normal kids do.  It's the "Singulair Slump" - it comes roaring back.  But the good news is, after vitamins and just one solid night of sleep - we get her back again.  It's a bit of a roller-coaster ride but I'll take it.

I look forward to the day that she can stay up late and not have to worry about how or if it will effect her mood.  I hope and pray that day comes.  I can only imagine college life being incredibly difficult (with late night studying and an occasional party) - I don't want her to suffer any more than she already has... but how long she will be in "recovery" remains to be seen.

**Taper or Cold Turkey?

Because of that fear, how long she'll be in "recovery," I recommend tapering your child off Singulair/Montelukast.  Don't chance it.  It doesn't take long.  Over one week to one and a half weeks,  give them less.  The Institute for Safe Medication Practices, or ISMP, says any medication that causes neuropsychiatric side effects should be tapered off to avoid further damage.  You can read their article HERE.   Also, this is a real life scenario: a woman from the Facebook Singular Support Group had 2 sons on the drug.  One she tapered, the other went cold turkey.  The son who went cold turkey still has some lingering issues, after being off for years.  The other son does not.

Report Adverse Drug Reactions

It's important to continue to get the word out.  My daughter, Savannah, is one of the lucky ones.  She's still here.  It can get bad fast - many people take their lives while on this drug.  Stronger warning labels, more studies, better public awareness is needed in order for our children to get a fair shake.  Singulair/Montelukast stole a part of life from my daughter and I'm raging mad about it.  My only hope is that, with my research and the help of other caring and sensible individuals she'll continue to grow into the person she was always meant to be.  Not the person shoved into her body in the form of a little pill called Singulair.

Read the FDA's Pediatric Safety Review of Singulair/Montelukast ARTICLE HERE and if you'd like to Report the Adverse Effects you've encountered on this drug (or any other for that matter) you can click  HERE or call 1-855-543-3784.

Finally tonight...

I'm not saying pull this drug from the market.  I'm sure there are some people that need Singulair/Montelukast for their daily well being.  Further, there are most likely some children who aren't negatively impacted by it at all.  Then by all means, let them have it.  But do so under close supervision.  Make doctors, patients, families aware of what can potentially happen when you take this drug.  The people who are complaining about adverse reactions aren't lying and they do matter.    Every child matters.

Someone you know needs this information.

According to the CDC, 1 in 12 have asthma today.  More than half of those people are children.  

Many are using or will use Singulair/Montelukast.  So share this information to your friends and family.  Let everyone know of the huge harm that can come from a little pink pill.  Then remind them healing can happen.  You WILL find the person Singulair stole from you as you watched the entire time.  Just like we finally found Savannah...

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

He wants to be a real HERO for Halloween!

The Headlines:

I don't like to get political.

So I won't.

But I will say this...

The other day we were at Costco.  We go a lot.  We feed our family with Costco foods all the time.  They're kinda hard to beat.  But every once in a while we get something off track.  A shirt, a book, a pool noodle, a Rebecca Minkoff Purse.  Seriously, that one was one Mother's Day.

But on this day a couple weeks ago my son was pulled toward the Halloween Costumes.  If you've been to Coscto lately, and you're a parent, you know exactly what I'm talking about...

He was Batman last year, he's been a Firefighter, a Police Officer.  This year he said something about an Avenger character.  Super Heroes are big when you're 5 years old.  So when he went over and picked a "Special Forces/Marine" costume I was shocked and simply replied, "Oh so you want to be a REAL Super Hero again this year!"

Done.  Proud.  Excited about this costume.

Especially since the NFL season starts tonight and some dude on the 49ers won't stand up for the national anthem before his game (when he plays one).  I'm not going to say much on that because I'm not sure it deserves much to be said on the subject.  I will, however, simply say that I'm proud my son decided to be a Marine like some of the other real heroes he's been in the past.   I'm also glad he decided not to be a football player.  Not that football players are bad.  Not all of them.  It's just sometimes, like we teach our little boys... one person can ruin things for the whole group.

So stand up if you want to America and be a REAL SUPER HERO with my son this Halloween.   And let the football players keep playing their game... if they can stand for it.


Friday, August 26, 2016

What To Do When Your Child HATES Kindergarten

The Headlines:

I never thought this would happen.

My child doesn't like school.

Here's what I did. 

Three weeks ago my little boy started Kindergarten.  It was so exciting.  For everyone.  A new school for the whole family.  Both children were wearing uniforms for the first time.  I wrote about the day HERE .  What I didn't anticipate, however, was this follow up post.  In particular, I never dreamed my strong willed, extremely communicative, super friendly little boy would have any problems going to school.

Boy was I wrong.

It started innocently enough: the first day of school he wanted nothing to do with his uniform, the second day he mentioned in passing he wanted to go back to his old school (y' know, the cushy, sweet, sing-songy school where I could pick him up directly from his classroom 3 days a week).  The third day he mentioned he was super tired but by the fourth he was in full on break down mode.  Let me stress it again FULL BREAK DOWN MODE.

He was saying 50 times a day that HE HATED SCHOOL.  There was a lot of crying.  Lots of yelling, "I just want to stay home with you!" Whining.  Agonizing.  Then one day, I almost couldn't get him out of the car at drop off.  It was brutal.  This went on for a while... and all the while I was kind of in disbelief.  When I was a child, I loved school.  I couldn't get enough of it.  My daughter was the same way.  When she went to Kinder half day, she would ask me what the kids in full day were doing every 10 minutes after we got home.

This was the opposite - it was stunning and somewhat paralyzing.

I scrambled to get play dates lined up.  I added special treats to his lunch.  There was lots of hugging. I even said we could switch to half day if that's what he really wanted.  He went to bed early.  But none of that seemed to work.  All the while, my husband was out of the country - this was a mine to figure out.

So here's what did.  I lied.

I wrote his teacher informing her of the problem and she wrote back something along the lines of: "don't worry... this is natural!"  But it wasn't natural - not from where I come from.  She also said: "he does ask me several times a day if it's time to go home."  Not surprising.  But in that same email she offered some encouraging words:  she said, "Hudson did very well in class today.  He offers answers to questions and was engaged in all of our subjects."  So I decided that was something my son needed to hear.  I read him the email.  And then I embellished it a bit.  I added "please tell Hudson he's very important to the class, we need him here, it wouldn't be the same without him."  He listened and we went to bed.  It wasn't all that earth shattering at the time.

The next morning he woke up,  he was unhappy to be awake but the morning was rather un-eventful.  He only said he didn't want to go to school like 5 times.  Which for us, at this point, was big.   It didn't become apparent that my lie worked until we were driving in the car that morning.  I mentioned school and my son replied, "well the teacher needs me so I gotta go."

And that was that.

No more tears.  No more arguments.  A little bit of whining.  But he's going and he's not complaining about it.  In fact, I think he may even cop to liking it a bit.  Well, almost.  We're getting close to that at least.  He certainly enjoys the facts he's learning.  "Mom, did you know ground hogs hold their breath for 6 minutes when they're hibernating?" Ah... no!

No question Kindergarten is an adjustment for kids.  And parents.  Kids may love it, they could hate it but it's your job to get them there.  By whatever means possible.  My son still doesn't like the uniforms, waking up early or having such a long day.  But he's going.  And, bonus, he feels needed (and wanted) there.  Usually, I'm not a fan of lying.  But in this case... it was just the teacher ordered!

Monday, August 8, 2016

First Day of Kindergarten

The Headlines:

As a Mom there is lots to look forward to...

and a few things to dread.  

Which one is this?

Ironically, sometimes the things you look forward to - are the same things you dread.  You know what I mean?  Think about it... there's actually a lot of irony in motherhood.  It starts the moment those beautiful bundles are born.

A Mother gives birth and the baby you wanted so badly to hear is making you crazy with their cry! A Mom stops breastfeeding but yearns for closeness.  Toddlers begin to walk and all they do is get into everything.  They start to sleep through the night but the Mother wakes up just to make sure their baby is breathing.  Parents want kids to read but miss telling bedtime stories (still do it)!  Mom has a personal side kick for years but starting one August they leave for most of the day.

This is where we're at in our house.

Today was the first day my little boy went to Kindergarten.  We were all ready for it.  He was climbing up the walls during these last 2 weeks of Summer.  I was on the roof thinking about jumping off.  But then, the night before the day came,  I looked back on that day and every day since he was born and all I could remember was perfection.  That loving, sweet and angelic baby is now going to school and leaving me behind in my misery and loneliness (never mind I have a million things to do which I've been putting off for about 8 weeks - even though my husband's not sure that I do anything at all each and every day)!  None of that matters now.  He's starting school.

And the rest of his life.  It's lightening speed from here Mommy.

I will also warn you if it's your last or first child going to Kinder, there's a huge difference.

My daughter first left for school five long years ago (and though I love her just the same) I was practically pushing her out because I had this incredibly needy baby at home that I had to take care of... there weren't many tears back then.  Just relief.  But your last child starting their long "academic journey" is different.  Because life for you, on so many levels changes too.  No longer will you be going to Target with your little one on a Tuesday morning at 10:00.  You will do that all alone now.  You will have more time to think about what's for dinner.  You'll be able to walk into a gym.  You can even start a new career.  Well, hopefully.  If you want.  I wrote about that a few months ago HERE.  But see, that's the point.  Today, you, as a Mother now have a few more choices.  Choices you didn't have yesterday.  And while in this moment you may long for last week... tomorrow is full of new and exciting possibilities.

After all, there are many more Motherhood ironies that lie ahead.  My children will still drive me crazy as they follow me around the house until they want nothing to do with me.  I will continue to be annoyed that I'm a personal taxi until they turn 16 and I can't protect them anymore.  They will want to eat dinner with their friends until one day they'll ask to come home and eat with you.  We'll want them to find someone to love... until they actually get married.  I wrote about that HERE a few years ago (being replaced someday will KILL me)!  I may even say I need grand kids... but I won't want to be a "grandmother"!  It's all very ironic.

So cry a little now.  Then wipe those tears and start living Mama.  Life has changed forever and there's no going back.  That baby is in the big leagues now and he can't wait for what lies in front of him.  And inside, some where, maybe deep down... neither can you.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Best Rose' Wine List #summerwater

The Headlines:

I love me some wine!

Make it Pink & it's even better.

Let's call it #summerwater

It's funny... a light pink wine used to remind people of White Zinfandel.  You know... the stuff your grandma drinks?  Or the stuff the 21 year old used to order her first time out to a fancy dinner back in the 90's!  Yea, that was me.  It wasn't until recently that light pink wine, (i.e. Rose') came back in style.

And boy did it - now it's unstoppable.  Rose' is the New Black.

I get why.  It's light, it's well priced and it's absolutely stunning in a glass!  Perfect for Summer.

All my friends agree.  At least the cool ones.  Hee heeeeee.  Here are some of my favorites.  And don't miss the last one.  

2015 Rosa dei Masi - Rosato - $12-$14
I love Masi which comes from Italy.  The bottle screams "girls night" to me.  It's light but packs a powerful punch and goes well with almost anything. 

Miner Medocino Sangiovese - $22-$25
Miner is a great Rose' from California.  It's tall/thin appearance and darker shade of "pink" might be more appropriate if a guy joins you for the night!  It retails for more than the Masi and I think it's rare to find in grocery/liquor stores.  But you can always ask your retailer.  They may say they can't get it...  but they can.

Martin Ray - Russian River Pinot Noir - $12-14 

Martin Ray is classy, clean and cool.  It's made from a Pinot Noir grape.  It too comes from California.  In the Sonoma area (Russian River Valley to be exact).  It's retailing in this picture (at Costco) for $12.99, which is a great value!  

Another great #summerwater is Sauvignon Blanc.  Its light, crisp, fruity taste is always a favorite chilled on a hot Summer day!  Here are three I really like... starting with this one:
Trinchero Mary's Estate Grown Sauvignon Blanc - $20 

Pick it up, it's a solid bottle.  A good one to take to a Summer BBQ because the bottle is a nice, heavy grab.  It seems substantial and it is... especially for the price - $20 at some grocery stores.   

2014 Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc - $11-13
I love Joel Gott wines.  He's a solid California wine-maker that's made a name for himself in the wine world.   I think I wrote about him in my Holiday wine picks.  Just checked, sure did.  Exact same wine as a matter of fact.  See that HERE ... goes to show it's a good wine all year 'round! 

Angeline Reserve Sauvignon Blanc - $10-12

Just a quick last mention... another Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc.  It's good.  It opens fast (screw top), can't go wrong.  Yes, that bottle is empty.

I am saving the best for last!  It's this puppy...
Gerard Bertrand - Cote des Roses - $12-$14

I kinda can't get over it.  First of all, it's GORGEOUS!  Look at that lovely, very light pink color.  I can NOT stand it, it's so beautiful!  But it gets better.  Look.

The bottom of the bottle is in the form of a rose.  The GLASS top/lid... is a very light pink color.

After you drink it put the bottle by your tub with some bath crystals.  Use it as a vase.  Whatever.  Just keep it.  Now taste.  Ummmmm.... yum!  It's a blend of 3 grapes and it has a light, subtle, fresh taste that is truly #summerwater in your mouth!  Not to mention, it comes from France which makes it seem even cooler for some reason.  

I mean really, run don't walk, to get this stuff for Summer.  Can I tell just tell you Costco buys it in bulk and they sell out every time?  No people it's not a secret.  But I just found it.  Now you must too.  So get in on the action.  You'll be glad you did.  

Cheers to you... now go enjoy your newly branded bottles of #summerwater and don't forget to... 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The POWER of Pendant Lighting

The Headlines:

A little light...

packs a powerful punch!

When I re-did our kitchen about 4 years ago I did not put in pendant lighting.  Turns out... that was a mistake.

As always, I chronicled the kitchen remodel on this blog.  You can see the post HERE

One day... about 3 years later it hit me.  We needed pendant lighting.  Actually, the fact that we needed better lighting in the kitchen was something I knew for a while but chose to ignore.  That's how I roll sometimes.  Turns out it can really make a huge difference.  See, nice but a "smidge" boring...

 Today, it's a whole new world...

I can NOT explain the huge impact it made.  

2 reasons: it provides much better lighting and it looks amazing!  So, not only is the area warmer due to the new lights but it just looks finished.  I no longer will put ANYTHING on my countertops except a small vase of flowers as pictured here.  There's no need.  Too distracting.

I know what you're thinking: I just need to get my house in order, pendant/chandelier lighting is dead LAST on my LIST! But maybe it shouldn't be.  As the Power of the Pendant is strong.

Here are my 5 Pendant Lighting Points:

1 - Don't Spend Too Much
There are lots of pendant choices out there.  Some are through the roof expensive.  Don't get those.  Get the ones in your price range.  Those puppies are connected to the ceiling.  People won't be touching or inspecting them.  They have to look good from a few feet away and that doesn't necessarily have to cost you 2k.

2 - The BIGGER the Better
Gone are the days when a small pendant looks cool.  In fact just the opposite.  They look super distracting.  They don't command enough attention to get noticed.  You're putting up pendants to GET NOTICED so the bigger the better.  The ones in my kitchen are the extra large.  24" x 16" and I wouldn't go a hair smaller.  I'm also loving the "trend" of putting up 2 X-Large ones instead of 3 Medium or Small  ones.  It's just cool.

3 - Don't Hang too High (or too Low) 
The rule, according to a lighting designer I consulted out of NYC (I know - very chic) - the bottom has to be at least 6 feet above the ground over a kitchen island.  They can be higher if your ceiling is massive.  Mine is... I went 6 feet 5" above the ground.  Too low and it just looks weird.   Too high and, well, it just looks weird.  *Other hanging height rules: bottom of a dining table pendant/chandelier should be at lest 30" above table if the ceiling height is 8 feet but add a few inches for every extra foot of ceiling.   And in a living room, bottom of fixture clearance should be 6'6" if there's an 8 foot ceiling.  Higher if the ceiling is higher and so on...

4 - Get DIM
If you can, put the pendant lights on separate switches from any canned lighting (that will cost a tad more with your electrician) and get a dimmer switch.  It just adds a whole other level to your lighting.  Trust me on that one.

5 - Avoid Glass
For 2 reasons:  cheaper and easier.  Several of my friends have glass on their pendants.  The dust that collects on them is excruciating and cleaning them is even harder.  Yes, even with Windex.  They're just so cumbersome (think about it - high, suspended & on a chain).  Plus, the glass-less choices cost less.  Glass costs more.  Period.  Now, they're coming out with so many lighting choices WITHOUT glass... you should just get those.  I did.  The ones in my kitchen don't have glass and neither does the one below in my bathroom.  Couldn't be happier.   

If you're still not convinced of the Power of Pendants let me show you a few more examples.  While searching for the perfect kitchen pendants I bought one I didn't use.  So I put it in my bathroom.  Above my tub. 

It's gorgeous.  Really glams the place up!  Lighting Love.  Convinced yet?  One more example.  I put this pendant up right when we moved in.  

Now, while a very cool pendant in the right space.  Here, it didn't go with my decor.  Plus, it provided no light - since it was only one bulb (be careful of those 1 bulb pendants) - so changed it out for this chandelier...

and problem solved.  It was brighter and the style fit better.  I get tons of compliments on it!

Everyone says it... lighting is under-rated.  Turns out "everyone" is right.  Once you fall under the Power of the Pendant... you certainly see the light!

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Friday, May 13, 2016

House-front Face Lift - For Less!

The Headlines:

Need to spruce up the front of your House?

Here's how to get the most bang for your buck.

After a while everyone needs a face lift.  Yes, we're talking about the house not you.  When we bought ours about 4 years ago I knew we had a lot of work ahead.  I've documented most of it on this blog (check under the label "remodeling" on the right side bar).   We've done it slowly.  Not all at once - like some people.  I'm a Stay at Home Mom and funds aren't un-limited.  Plus, I really like doing this stuff so I want to get it right.  We try to be smart and calculated while staying fiscally responsible shall we say?  That's what you want to do too?  Then here are my suggestions:

1- Pick Priorities
Try to limit these to a reasonable number - 5.  We desperately needed to paint, get rid of our horrible light "noses," update the door, change the eye sore windows and fix the mailbox.  We'd love to re-do our driveway (make it circular and add stone) plus update the landscaping but that's just not in the cards right now.

2 - Find A Painter Who Can Do MORE!  
This will save you cash because he's already there.  We saved mucho money getting one guy to do EVERYTHING!  As opposed to a painter who only paints.  Trust me, the painter will charge you almost the same amount as the guy who will do everything.  They're harder to find but they're out there.  My "painter" also lopped off the ugly "nose" lights that tend to go on adobe style homes like mine.

We added these sconces that look so much better:

He also changed out our mailbox and added new, cooler looking numbers (which I blocked out).

3- Develop A Plan
After picking priorities and finding a guy to do the work - you need to be clear on exactly what that work will be.  At first we thought we wanted to add stones to our house and stain our front door dark.   Look, the door was in dire need:

But I decided to bail on the rock idea.  We could get more bang for our buck by simply adding the wrought iron lights and iron front door.  Yes, the door would be pricey but worth it.  The sidelights even open for some cross ventilation.  I love this door.  Typically, you the customer, get to design iron doors too!  They can do anything.  Each one is usually made custom for the customer.

It's even awesome on the other side which was a surprise to me.  I never thought about how much it would change the feel and look inside the home!  But bottom line the new door ties in nicely with the windows, lights and indoors for a super cohesive look.

4 - Use Paint In Un-expected Places.  
Our windows looked horribly dated since they were "framed" with white instead of black.

We had to do something.  But new windows would cost thousands & thousands of dollars.  And our windows were fine.  In fact, really good, according to the window pro who just came over...  So I came up with an idea to PAINT the window frames.  Surprisingly, the contractor didn't charge too much to do that yet the impact was HUGE.

The result?  Much better.

They look phenomenal.  And we started a trend.  Everyone in our neighborhood is doing it now.  You can also throw up another color instead of black - red and turquoise are big where we live.  We also put black paint on our view fence.  In Arizona, houses usually use the same color of their house on their fence but I asked -  why not black?

Turns out, it really makes the fence look like a wrought iron, custom job versus what we had before.

5 - Bring the Indoors Out
Last thing.  It's super cheap to go shopping inside your own house!  Sometimes I just look around, see what I don't need or want INDOORS any more and repurpose it outside.  That's what I did below.  That side table used to be my bathroom stool.

It works perfect here.  Side note, if you can swing it, all front yards need a sitting place.  To better watch the kids ride bikes, drink wine or just to keep the neighbors in line.  If you don't have a designated one, like a porch, make one.  I almost guarantee you can find a little spot on your lawn or under that eave.  Just look for it.

That's it.  Are you inspired?  The whole project cost just under $15k.  No, not chump change but I'd say it looks like a million.  

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