Archive for December, 2008

Happy New Year 2009!!!!


New Year! New Ball!  What else could possibly fall into place in 2009? I was pleased to hear on NPR this morning that a brand spanking new updated LED double size, superior  Times Square Ball has been installed.  This new improved ball will  drop us all  into 2009 and will now be on display year round for all to see.   In Reflection of the year 2008  I can recognize great success in my own life and the lives of those who surround me.  The lessons of 2008 were endless.

2008 began for me in my hometown in Vermont.  I was terribly sick, as was my best friend and we spent the celebration full of cough medicine with warm tea in hand.  It was hardly an exciting invitation to the coming year, but was rather an introduction into our personal perseverance, and ability to not let the little things in life get us down.  Hence we repeated continuously together, Em and I, 2008 is GREAT! We then sickly  kissed 2007 and all its ills and glory  goodbye, got a good nights sleep, woke up in 2008 well rested, and better.

I have learned so much from my friends and my family this year.  Janessa has shown me true personal dedication and how very resilient a mind can be when given the proper attention and time to just be with itself and be okay with that.  Jacob has shown me first hand what emotional loving is and can be.  He has been my shoulder, inspiration, and very best friend of the year, and I am so grateful for his support and love.  Corn has shown me inspiration on so many levels, I am continually moved by her personal growth, strength and reflection.  Destiny showed me the strength of the human heart, the beauty of each of our own unique talents, and what closing a chapter in ones life can do to open the door to a whole new world.  My sisters continue to work toward there dreams, and this keeps me motivated to pave the way and lead by example for them, so that they will never ever give up.

I’ve watched great friendships rebound from insurmountable ruins.  Businesses grow to unexpected levels, Dreams stretch to become  larger and more clearly viewed, Love flourish in the most unexpected places, A father who’s strength surpassed any  hopes and created the most inspiring chain of optimism in his daughters.   I have watched as people have gone above and beyond for the people that mean most to them, even when they knew the favor would never be returned.  I have been so grateful for my network of the most creative, loving, and inspiring people I have ever known.  And the endless love and support of my Grandparents and all of the other people who believe in me and what I am passionate about so lovingly, without you…I can’t even imagine what life would be.

Each and everyone one of you that has touched my world on any level has made me a better person, and taught me so very much.  I have the foundation now that supports everything I have always believed, which is that people are inherently GOOD and deserve second, forty, or five hundredth chances… (circumstances pending of coarse).  That if you love something or someone you may at some point have to let it or them go…only to appreciate the actual lesson.  That life is filled with lessons for all of us if we will only take the time to stop and listen.  That we are creative beings, resilient beings, loving beings full of light and passion that wants so desperately to be harnessed.

I wish each and everyone of you a 2009 so much greater than you could ever dream.  A year where great opportunities no longer pass you but join you in your growth.  A year filled with absolute true love on every level outward and inward.  A year of great success in all that you do, May everything you touch turn to gold and your new glorious self be on display all year round for all the world to see.


Happy New Year to all of YOU!  Namaste and High Fives!!!! LULU


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I fell in love with sushi all over again last night.  Jacob took me to Tiger Sushi‘s latest location in Uptown, Minneapolis  on a whim in attempt to actually get out of the house and do something.  I had Tiger Sushi for the first time at the MonaLisa Breast Cancer Benefit, Peep: http://www.themonalisaproject.com.  They catered the art gallery section of the event held by my BFF Emily to benefit her good friend Mona Lisa who was battling breast cancer at the age of 27.  I remember I was starved from working on the set up of the gallery and the silent auction all day so I inhaled the delightful sushi far to quickly to actually appreciate the value of  the heaven in front of me.


So, anyways…back to last night.  On a whim we end up at Tiger sushi in Uptown.  The new location located under the new condos on Lyndale Ave and located across the street from my ever so dreaded previous Bikram Yoga studio.  We parked in the lot fo Egg and I, shhh, don’t tell.  Ran across the frozen dark streets and entered into a beautiful open space to find to my delight, that there was barely anyone there and GASP, it was Happy Hour, at 6:00 no less.  Bravo!!!!

I had planned a Yoga class at 7:30 so we didn’t partake in delicious beverages, wild meals, or dessert.  We did however order Miso soups fit with fried parsley dumplings still crunchy to the bite, 8 pieces of Nigiri Tuna so fresh and red, and a crunchy tuna/salmon roll that was a seriously scrumptious explosion of flavors and comfort.  I have a thing for tuna, can you tell?

The space was nice and open and airy which I love.  There is plenty of room around the bar to watch sushi be prepared, and even an area outside for good eats during the warmer months under the stars or the sun.

I recommend getting in there soon before its the new hot spot so you can enjoy the laxed settings and not have to wait for a table or yum yums.  Next time, no Yoga after…I’m going to indulge my big heart out on delectable eats at my new favorite Sushi Restaurant, Tiger Sushi!

Tiger Sushi is located at: 2833 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408


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One of my most favored Minneapolis based companies Mermapillar could be nothing more than a memory if  a new bill is passed that basically requires all children’s clothing to be approved by a third party before it can be sold.  I understand this rational on children’s toys most certainly, and also can support having nothing short of the very best for our nations children BUT, when it comes to small business and even more importantly all ORGANIC, ECO-FRIENDLY small businesses I think there should be an exception.


Here is the email I got from Miss Alice co-owner and creator of Mermapillar, Peep: mermapillar.com. Please click the link below to help support small business that create cutesy organic clothing for children using only the best materials.

Ok, so the thing below is the cheesy email that they make for you. But this is actually threatening to crush all my merma-dreams!
There’s a bill that will most likely go into affect in Feb. saying that all children’s products including clothing will need to be tested by a 3rd party for safety. That sounds fine and good, but the testing can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars for each batch of clothing that I make. This will be completely unaffordable for thousands of small businesses around the country and is most like going to put anyone but a big corporation out of business!!
If you have a few extra seconds it would mean a lot to me if you would click on their link below and vote that they make a few alterations to the bill, so that I and many other people can keep doing what they love.
Thank you so much!

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s a movement of citizens inspired by the presidential campaign who are now submitting ideas for how they think the Obama Administration should change America.  It’s called “Ideas for Change in America.”

One idea is titled: Save Handmade Toys From the CPSIA. I thought you might be interested in getting involved and recommend you check it out.  You can read more and vote for the idea by clicking the following link:


The top 10 ideas are going to be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day and will be supported by a national lobbying campaign run by Change.org, MySpace, and more than a dozen leading nonprofits after the Inauguration.  So each idea has a real chance at becoming policy.

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lululemon02Candlelight Anusara Yoga with Ali Certain

Friday, Jan. 2nd @6:30pm
2313 W. 50th St. MPLS, MN (50th and Penn)

Begin this year with intention! Join us for an evening of complimentary candlelight yoga as we forget about 2008, and we look to the fresh new year ahead. Taught by Anusara certified yoga instructor, Ali Certain. Take the time to get intentional this year with lululemon athletica! Feel free to bring family and friends. No RSVP necessary.

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Merry Christmas to all!

I’m so fortunate to be spending the holidays with my east coast family this year.  Its been a whirlwind of visits and scrumptious eats and catching up with all of the friends and family who are so dear to me.  Each year seems to surpass the last.  I am continually amazed by all of the wonderful things that people I know are doing, and how ridiculously in love so many couples still are.

resent-216 ( I made my own Christmas cards this year, NICE and NAUGHTY stamped with love)

The holidays serve as such an excellent reminder to me that no-matter how little you may see someone, or how infrequently you may speak to people you love because of your busy bee schedule, that family and true friendship never ever dies.  It only grows stronger.  Thank you so much to all of the supportive people in my life, to all the loving and caring people that I have the great bragging rights of calling “my family” or ” my friend” or “my client”.  I am so blessed to share the holidays with so many people that I am absolutely in love with.

Merry Christmas to all!  Here is wishing you and yours the most magical of Holidays shared with all of those that you love and cherish wildly.

tree(Our humble little homemade christmas tree!)

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painted by Jeff Robinson in the living room of interior designer Molly Luetkemeyer’s

Oh all the buzz and works of Christmas trees this time of year has got me thinking of times shared with clients this past year and other wild and ambitious ideas!   Jacob and I, nailed blue Christmas lights to our living room wall and made a glowing Christmas tree for the season.  With family trips and visits just around the corner there would only be a short time that we could even enjoy the tree together so we figured this was naturally the next best thing.

I tried to include a picture of the tree but I’m currently on the east coast and the file is not responding to my commands.  I’ll do this later when I return to Minneapolis.

I would also like to  say is that this post is dedicated to one of my dearest clients, Miss Jen!  You know exactly what I’m talking about with this one lady.  So here is the back story.  A year ago we were painting her place and she decided a tree would be perfect at the top of her stairs.  So, BOOM, first thing when you walk into the front entrance of the house, you see a very flirty branch or maybe even the whole tree.

As with anything in life, things come up, big things, small things, things in general, so, BLAST, we never got around to it.  Now, here I am, a year later… surfing away and what do I find but two lovely beautiful trees….One whimsy and romantic (TOP) the other Bold and strong (BOTTOM).  Even better, I find a how to!!!! So as my Christmas present to you I want to share this lovely recipe to make your very own tree, fit for enjoyment to carry you through all seasons.  Please visit http://freshome.com/2007/07/10/how-to-paint-a-tree-mural/ to learn step by step exactly how to create the tree below.  My next move is going to be convincing Jacob that we need one in our office…but with some Robbins egg blue flirty branches and a deep cocoa brown.  Hopefully I’ll be finding some time to make this happen after the holidays and you can come view our version of this master piece soon!



tree painted by: Reader Telmen

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Kathie’s Finds!!!!!

A few weeks ago I was out painting in Mudd Lake, MN for one of my favorite clients when I passed a cute rustic shop called Kathie’s Finds.  I had driven by Kathie’s Finds before but each time would have some reason not to stop.  We all know how these things go, you’re in a rush, you may have somewhere important to be.  So you say to yourself, NEXT TIME.  Well, this time I finally stopped, and I couldn’t have been anymore pleased with what I found.

Kathie was generous enough to find the time to let me interview her during such a busy time.  Here is our conversation:

LU: Kathie, Thank you so much for taking the time to interview with me.  Your shop is absolutely adorable and just filled with cozy things that I just want to scoop up and have in my home.  I was so pleased to be welcomed in by you shortly after I walked into your shop, is this something that most shoppers will experience when they enter Kathie’s place?


Kathie: I am usually always here…….I only hire 1 other person and her name is Anna Tillman and she is a gem. She only works when I absolutely need her and I am pretty much here at the same time as well. There has only been 1 day since opening April 4th that I wasn’t here and that is because my grandson was sick….so to answer your question, yes shoppers will experience meeting me 99% of the time.

LU: Well how very lucky for your customers then! You have quite the array of “finds”, where do you pick up all of your various treasures?

Kathie: One of the best parts of my business is  the hunting and gathering of all of my finds. I love the finding of treasures! I go to thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, and estate sales. I can find something that to the regular person may appear broken or of no use and fix it up, mend the seams, or rid of the stain so it’s as good as new.  Because I find my goodies for such a discounted rate I am able to then share them with my clients for such great deals.

LU: I noticed that you had so many furniture pieces just gushing with aged character.  You do these pieces yourself, can you tell us a little bit about the process and what inspires you do create this distressed look?

Kathie: I love old things….if it is new it just doesn’t work for me so the aged look just comes so naturally to me. I also do it out of necessity because when I find pieces that are in really bad shape and I put them back together or marry them with some other piece to make it more significant they need to be painted. It is just so much more interesting to make a piece of furniture look married when it is distressed. I also feel that furniture takes on so much depth and a deeper definition when distressed, especially when there is carvings and details there.

LU: You really do have so many treasures Kathie! Out of all of them, what would you say are the three things that Kathie’s Finds is best known for?

Kathie: Definitely one would be my painted furniture which is my mainstay. That is my bread and butter and has been for a long time now. I have been selling my furniture to stores in the city for many years as well as to my own customers. My home accessories just automatically go right along with that…….mirrors are big for me, chandeliers and lamps as well as jewelry…vintage and new.

LU: Oh my goodness, all of that jewelry!!!! All of that heavy costume style and vintage jewelry is so in style right now.   I know for sure you love the fun jewelry that you have at the shop but  what are a few of your other  favorite things that you have for sale?

Kathie: The things that I like the most are the architectural pieces like of course the wood furniture or anything wood with carvings and details on it. for instance right now there is a beautiful dresser with a mirror that has so much character…….it is yummy!!!! Chandeliers are one of my favorite things in this life so there are always chandeliers for sale and tons of them hanging around……

LU: The holidays are just around the corner, what are the kinds of things consumers will find just perfect for stocking stuffer s, or presents?

Kathie: I love the holidays because I love anything that sparkles and I truly believe that everything is better with glitter on it…so if you like glitter this is the place to come. Give me a bottle of glue and some glitter and I could be happy for days. There are so many different things to find  here, not like other  retail stores that  have to buy 6  of the same exact thing . I have so many  unique pieces at the shop, especially during the holidays. I only buy things that I love and would have in my own home.  Worse case scenario, if the item does not sell I can just bring it inside. There are things priced as low as a dollar so there is a lot for Christmas stocking stuffers and so much more.

LU: You are a woman after my own heart Kathie… Glitter for days…  (giggles) I also love how eco-conscious you are. When I was there you showed me your handmade “coffee cup blankets”, they were lovely can you tell us about these, and what they cost?

Kathie: I have a line of what I call “Kathie’s cup cozies” the waste of all the paper sleeves on cups from coffee shops makes me crazy so I came up with my line of these little treasures. They are like my other lines where they are all made from recycled products.The cozies are made from old blankets, coats, sweaters or anything that I find and that can be reused. The coffee houses are buying them as well as direct customers so the idea, the customer buys one and you keep it in there purse, car, jacket or wherever and when you go to buy coffee you just keep using the cozie over and over. It is washable so if you spill there is no problem. It is a no brainer to me…save our landfills and our planets resources instead of using 30 at least in a month if you go everyday….you use your own…over and over and over…good for everybody.

LU: YOU ARE AN ANGEL, this idea is brilliant and I have a feeling we are going to be seeing lots of these Cozies around very soon.  Now, you are having a Holiday open house soon, Can you tell us a bit about this and what to expect?

Kathie: This Friday and Saturday December 12th and 13th I am having my Holiday Open House and what that means is it  is a thank you to all my good customers and new customers. I am opening up my kitchen and making it all darling for retail as well as serving homemade cookies and cider. So for those 2 days people will have a little more space to shop in at my store. This means more finds and a little bit more of this lovely building to see. It is from 10 – 5 each day. I’ll hope to see you all there!

LU: What’s next in the cards for you and your store Kathie’s Finds?

Kathie: Since we opened April 4th we have opened up 2 rooms to the public and that consists of approximately 700 sq. ft. After the holidays we are starting to work on what we call the big room and hopefully by spring we will have that opened up as well. It is approximately 800 sq feet and will be absolutely lovely.  This building has so much character and fits with what we believe in so much. Keeping what is already here and making it better and using it to its full potential. It is a privilege to live here and enjoy it everyday and I love sharing it with all of our customers and friends. I believe that each one of us can do our part by saving our planet one piece at a time.

LU: and lastly, what four things can you just not live with out?

Kathie: The usual things of course…..husband, children, pets….but on a shallower note……I could not live without creating. It is not only what I do but is who I am. Making and fixing things that maybe would have been tossed out or overlooked truly makes me happy. Happy in a way that I never knew before I entered into this wonderful way of life

It was an absolute pleasure meeting you the day you breezed into my shop and brought such a wonderful spirit with you. I know that your life is touching many and you are doing great things to share with others and I admire that in you.

Thank you for your time Alicia and God bless you.

Kathie Armstrong

Awwww, Kathie is an angel, I adore her shop and I adore her.  I hope you will find the time to go out and experience her and her fabulous shop sometime in the near future.

For more information on Kathie’s Finds you can visit her website @ Kathiesfinds.com

Happy Holidays to you Kathie, It was truly a pleasure!  See you soon!


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