Saturday, June 30, 2012

The mind that is aligned with Love simply observes these circumstances and chooses not to label them.

The human mind is both a blessing and a curse. We are a genius race. We truly are. Our minds have created so many great things on this planet. Our minds are also capable of great amounts of darkness and fear. The human mind alone is powerful, but it is not all-powerful, nor is it always right. In fact, human beings have a track record of getting things vastly wrong before we get them right.

We tend to learn through pain and destruction, and to this day the majority of human beings are still running thought patterns that do not understand that each person is a part of a greater whole - that what one person does affects us all. We are still running thought patterns of separation and, as a result, fear. Some folks are breaking free of this, but many are still under the hypnosis of fear, separation and are seeking to get Love from "out there" instead of looking where Love truly resides, which is always "in here".

Our minds can be genius, but our minds can also be the source of massive suffering.

The beautiful thing about the human mind is that each one of us has an opportunity to train our minds like a champion. We can CHOOSE to align our thoughts with thoughts of Love, Peace, Compassion, Non-Judgment, etc. Or we can CHOOSE to align our thoughts with fear, lack, separation and the like. When we choose to align our thoughts and actions with Love, we tap into a wisdom much greater than our mind can comprehend.

All of us were born out of a Loving and Connected Uni-verse. We were birthed from an intelligence that we cannot understand, yet we feel intuitively. When we surrender our will and understanding to that subtle voice within, we sign up for an AWESOME and EPIC adventure. We won't know what's going to happen next, but we know that we will always be taken care of.

The first thing that usually happens when we surrender is that the shit literally hits the fan. Time and time again, whether we are consciously or unconsciously walking on The Path, the shit will hit the fan. Our limited perspective from our minds will want to see moments like this as bad, negative and horrible. It's only natural. When something tragic, unplanned or painful happens, it makes total sense to see that event as a negative. BUT - because we have NO idea what is going to happen in the next moment or in the next year as a result of these seeming disasters, we cannot, if we are tapped into Love, label them as bad, negative or disasters.

The mind that is aligned with Love simply observes these circumstances and chooses not to label them. We feel the feelings that come with each circumstance, but we do not let them define us or keep us stuck in a rut. We let the feelings come and go like a gust of wind - unattached and aware.

Because we do not know what is going to happen next, if we choose to prevent or resist the present moment, we may actually be interrupting and stopping a miracle in progress.

EVERY time something has gone to shit in my life, it's turned out even better. This is because I choose to see every seeming disaster as Grace and then take empowered action from that place of thinking.

Consider that when things are falling a part in your life that it is actually Grace and celebrate the end of a chapter in your life and ride the wave so you can be reborn, smarter, wiser and with even more Love and Understanding in your heart.

Choose to see even THIS MOMENT as a miracle in progress, and then get out of your own way.
M. Kipp

Friday, June 29, 2012

It was a picture perfect afternoon...

The Jackhammer Man!

by Annie Burnside on June 29, 2012

Recently I had the honor of observing and sharing a moment with the man with a jackhammer. It was a picture perfect afternoon, and after a morning of work and house busyness, I took off on my bike along Lake Michigan to walk one of my favorite beaches in Chicago (Rogers Park area, for you Chicagoans) and sit on a bench right on the beach facing the crystal clear lake. The waves were rolling in with that feel of eternal change and motion that feels so peaceful to the soul.
On the street leading to the beach, a crew was working on a sidewalk with jackhammers. My first thought was there goes my quiet. But as I passed them, I actually stopped my bike and sat for a moment observing this crew at work. Instead of being irked, I felt myself move into appreciation for their willingness to do a job that most people take for granted. Everyone loves a fresh sidewalk or road, but who really wants to be standing on a loud jackhammer day in and day out, year after year? And yet…
As I watched the crew under the clear blue sky, I saw these men smiling and laughing with one another. They seemed quite relaxed and jovial actually. I, in watching them perform their task with such ease, also felt at ease and marveled at the millions of ways we each spend our days. So many different paths, each with their own challenges and pleasures—truly an infinite number of possibilities to experience physicality and evolve as a soul.
Eventually, I went on down to the beach, and had myself a glorious walk and then settled on my bench. A few minutes later, I noticed that it was totally quiet. Apparently, the crew was on a break, and one of the men walked down and stood a few feet from me. I watched him as he took out a cigarette and began simply to stare at those breathtaking, gentle waves. He stood there for a long time in total stillness and silence, except for the hand going up to his mouth every now and then. He seemed lost in his own reverie.
I wondered about his life, his dreams, his family, his interior world. Suddenly, I felt tears spring to my eyes as I dropped into that Soul to Soul space of Oneness. From the outside, we appeared to be so different—age-wise, gender-wise, ethnicity-wise, presumably economic-wise. But, I felt such a deep sense of love for this man. Just because…
I wasn’t interested in the labels and the details, I simply felt a kinship with another courageous soul who has taken on the difficult task of being human. For a brief moment, we shared space and time while both experiencing the exquisite beauty of our physical landscape. All else faded away.
He eventually went back to work, and I eventually got back on my bike for the ride home so that I could greet my children after school, drive to practices and make dinner. However, the moment with the man with the jackhammer has stuck with me. We pass by souls all day long. Do we really see their beauty? Do we really feel their presence? Do we understand who they really are beyond the physical mask?
Let’s all try to drop into this beautiful space of oneness more often! For we are all truly in this together…
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Remember, life is a journey.

From the Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

"Patience child, patience. Remember, life is a journey. If you got everything you wanted all at once there'd be no point to living. Enjoy the ride, and in the end you'll see these "set backs" as giant leaps forward, only you couldn't see the bigger picture in the moment. Remain calm, all is within reach; all you have to do is show up every day, stay true to your path and you will surely find the treasure you seek."

- Jackson Kiddard
Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

You are a soul.

Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My French Inspiration ~ Julia Child:-)

My French Life: Julia Child – the French Chef


Julia Child's kitchen at The Smithsonian CC Flickr davidboeke
Julia Child's kitchen at The Smithsonian CC Flickr davidboeke
I discovered Julia Child just a few months ago after several decades of being completely unaware of her existence. From this you may deduce I am not an American. I say this as, since I first heard of her I’ve discovered that she is in fact an institution and a legend to Americans.
I came across a film called Julie and Julia and as the summary mentioned France and cooking – two of the subjects most close to my heart, I settled down to watch it not expecting too much and was totally charmed. The film is based on the true story of a young New Yorker, Julie Powell, who set out to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Childs’ cookbook in 365 days and blog the results. The film follows her attempts interspersed with snippets from the life of Julia Child who spent several years in France with her husband in his role as a Government diplomat.
The film prompted me to buy the book “My Life in France” by Julia Child and read more about the woman who became a legend and appears to have changed American attitudes to French food – forever.
In France, she studied at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, then began work on “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” with two French colleagues and this led to their collaboration on “cookerybookery”.
The result was a legendary cook book with classic French recipes hitherto unknown or at least misunderstood in America, being outlined step by step and with American style measurements. This then led to a TV show “The French Chef” which first aired in 1963 and… the Julia Child phenomenon.
From reading the book you get a real feel for the woman as well as the chef, following her burgeoning awakening to what French food is about to her desire to learn how to replicate it for herself. She was not awed by the famous French chefs who were teachers or by anyone else for that matter. She was not scared to try anything, even the most complicated dish. She was by nature a sharing person. She was a perfectionist and very determined. She was a bit bonkers!
I shall now endeavour to get the cook book and try some recipes for myself – not à la Julie Powell I hasten to add but simply because I am really intrigued now and having had lessons from my neighbours to learn French cuisine it will be fun and interesting to compare. Also I will be able to understand everything which isn’t always the case when I’m trying to keep up with non English-speaker 84 year old M-T or strongly accented Monsieur Le Boulanger!
A bientôt
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Nobody Training.

Here are three steps to help you practice NOBODY TRAINING so that you can keep loosening the ties that bind you to who you think you are and you don’t have to break your foot to let go. This Nobody Training is a derivative of my mentor and teacher, Dr. Ron Alexander’s work in his book, Wise Mind. Open Mind.
1. NOBODY MEDITATION.For 15 minutes every day sit in stillness and silence. Sit tall. Close your eyes. Follow your breath. Imagine all the roles that you play washing off of you like water off a duck’s back. See the masks you wear being peeled off. Practice letting go.
Imagine who you would be if you were not a mother, daughter, writer, teacher, entrepreneur, etc.
What would life be like if you moved to a different part of the country, started a whole new career? What new hobbies might you take up? Where would you travel? What kind of friends would you have if you lived in a parallel Uni-verse?
Keep emptying out. Every time you notice your mind center on what you “should” be doing, entertain the idea of something totally different. Example: If you’re trying to get fit or lose weight…What if you did like to exercise? What would your life be like? How does a healthy, thin person live? What are their habits and preferences?

2. NOTICE THE “I” MAKER.Notice throughout the day every time you use the word “I”, “me” or “mine”. What do you think defines you? Begin to notice all the stories you tell yourself every day about who you think you are, how you act, what you think are your habits. What if they weren’t true? What new stories, characteristics, habits, desires could you create for yourself?
In yoga psychology, we call this “Ahamkara” or the “I” maker. We invest an inordinate amount of time and energy building and preserving our sense of “I”. Begin to poke holes in the illusion of your false self and who you ‘think you are’. What exists underneath all of this?
3. BE ANONYMOUS.The next time you go to a new meeting, cocktail party, gathering, retreat or event – stay as anonymous as possible. Don’t tell people what you do. Let your “being” or energy speak for itself. Tell people you do something totally different. Ask them questions and engage on a level deeper than personality and small talk. Notice the tendency we have to project onto other people based on what little we know about them. Notice what other people tend to project onto you. Challenge yourself to resist making assumptions and stay open to the newness and all possibilities. What if all Wall St. brokers weren’t greedy? Or all yogi-meditators weren’t hippy-dippy? Invite contradictions.
Once I let go of my fixed idea of the ‘successful yoga teacher’ mask, I could finally relax into the truth that I really did not want to be teaching eight classes a week or be in a sweaty yoga room every day for the rest of my life. I definitely wanted to keep teaching, but I wanted to add a whole other dimension to my work: therapy, coaching, writing and more entrepreneurial endeavors that I simply didn’t have time for running all over town from class to class.
Then I met the love of my life, who happens to live in Aspen, Colorado. If my main source of income had still been local, group classes, I would have been much more resistant to splitting time and moving back and forth. In short, I had lightened my load of what I thought my life was supposed to look like and was open to receive the magic unfolding before me – a career change and a move cross country.
Please leave a comment with what roles you most easily get caught in. What are your “go to” tactics to stay clear and present in who you are today? How do you let go of who you were yesterday?
Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

I'm with you kid.

"Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: "I'm with you kid. Let's go."
- Maya Angelou
Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

How to have a lovely day:-)

Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Strong women...

· · · 11 hours ago ·

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Each of us has a personal calling.

"I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint - and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you."

- Oprah Winfrey

Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Real Things Havent Changed.

Trust Your Journey added a new photo.
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Just be YOU!

Forget “Not Enough” Or “Too Much.” Be Just YOU!

by Lissa Rankin on June 23, 2012

All you have to do is turn on the television, check out a magazine or log onto the internet to realize that the media is blasting us with the message that we’re somehow “not enough.”
Coming at us from all sides are messages that we’re not pretty enough, smart enough, rich enough, popular enough, skinny enough, successful enough, healthy enough - whatever enough.
But then if you step it up a notch – really pump up the volume – you get the opposite message. “No! Now you’ve gone off and overdone it! Now you’re ‘too much.’ You should be less intense, less honest, less sexy, less smart, less complicated, less personal, less talented, less ambitious, less dramatic, less emotional, less fierce.
Where Should You Be On The Dial?
The message being sent is that somewhere between “not enough” and “too much” is a perfect setting on the dial that every one of us should emulate – maybe a perfect 7 or something.
Well, I’m here to tell you that’s total bullshit.
Here’s the real truth. If life is a dial from 1 to 10, some days you’ll be a 1. Others you’ll be an off-the-charts 11.
And that’s just perfect.
I Am Not Enough
I know how it feels to be on both ends of the spectrum. I feel pretty good about myself when I’m doing what I do best. But when I stray out of my narrow zone of genius (into, for example, the scary, nausea-inducing world of internet marketing or the even-scarier challenge of making any extension of my hand- like a tennis racket or golf club- hit a ball), I instantly feel like I’m lacking. Even when I’m pinching myself, living in the world I always dreamed of being in, like when I spoke at the Hay House Ignite conference and was surrounded by beautiful, famous, talented visionaries, I found myself numbly stirring my Perrier, wondering why I was the only one at the private cocktail party not talking to Louise Hay, or Wayne Dyer or surrounded by a crowd of gushing authors. Was I not interesting enough? Not popular enough? Not pretty enough?
No matter how much I become, I always have moments of self-doubt and insecurity, during which I second guess my value in the world.
I can listen to my Inner Pilot Light, who is my biggest cheerleader and who is absolutely certain I have value in this world just because I’m a spirit in a body who’s connected to All That Is and that’s exactly enough.
But in the stray moments when I’m not listening to the wisdom of my soul, I’m going to be a 1 on the dial and feel “not enough,” and that’s just how it rolls.
I Am Too Much
Other times, I feel pressure to dial it back, tone it down, be less… everything.
Truth is – I’m a lotta woman. I’m intense, and passionate, and emotional, and occasionally gifted and on my good days, I’m pretty fearless, and that means some people get scared shitless and run screaming in the other direction when I walk into a room.
I’ve had bosses who’ve asked me to stop over-delivering. I’ve had friends “break up” with me because I’m “too intense.” I’ve dated men who thought I was “too emotional” and exposed too much of my heart. I’ve dated others that told me I was awesome, but I simply made too much money and they couldn’t handle that.
In fact, I’ve had coaches politely suggest I might want to turn down my dial to make other people feel more comfortable. It left me feeling like it wasn’t safe to shine my light.
Some days, I’m a 10 and that’s just how it’s gonna be.
Goldilocks Is A Fairy Tale
You remember Goldilocks? She ate the three bears’ porridge, sat in their chairs, and curled up in their beds because she was testing to find which version was “just right.”
There’s so much pressure to be perfect, but keep in mind that there is no “just right” version of you. Wherever you are on your dial in this moment is exactly where I want you to be. You’ll have 2 moments and 9 moments and smack-dab-in-the-middle 5 moments. Some days, you may even have a 1 moment and a 10 moment right next to each other.
And that’s okay. Just feel what you feel. Be who you are. Rest comfortably in your 1-ness, or your 10-ness or wherever you are in between.
Don’t judge where you are. Don’t make one setting better or worse than another. Just be with what is and let that be “just right.”
Where Are You On The Dial?
How are you feeling right now? Are you “not enough?” Are you “too much?” Can you manage to be comfortable with exactly who you are, how you show up in the world, and whatever level of confidence or sparkly, splashy brilliance you radiate into the world?
Share your thoughts.
Making peace with my dial,
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Be not the slave of your own past.

"Be not the slave of your own past-
plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep,
and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain and overlook the old."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, June 22, 2012

If you're human, you've had phases in your life when things are in flux.

If you're human, you've had phases in your life when things are in flux. Maybe you're even in one of the following flux states right now:
Career flux: Feeling that the career ladder you're on is very wobbly beneath your feet.
Love flux: Believing Cupid rhymes with stupid for good reason.
Money flux: Sensing you should rename your Amex Green Card your Red Card.
Maternity flux: Taking baby steps into a whole new life by creating a whole new life.
Home flux: Questioning where you're gonna be resting your weary head in the future
Education flux: Going through first-degree or second-degree college degree brain burn.
Technology flux: Enduring an upgrade you hope won't lead to a breakdown.
Yes, there are many varieties of flux. Yet it only takes two words to describe all of 'em: Flux sucks!
Thankfully, it also only takes two lenses to see your way clearly through flux--a long-term lens and a short-term lens. Basically, if you're enduring an anxious trip into The Land of Change and Uncertainty, a bifocal lens will ensure you better enjoy your travels. How?
A long-term lens will help you keep your eye on the prize of your ultimate goals of happiness and fulfillment, while a short-term lens will help you keep your eyes on your feet so you don't get tripped up by fear.
By seeing both points of focus, you will navigate at your least clumsiest and most wisest -- making decisions from your most confident self.
Unfortunately, people sometimes can get stuck viewing flux with only one lens, which creates problems. For example, if you only view flux with short-term vision, you'll be focusing too much on present fears, obstacles, failure and disappointment. As a result, you'll choose habits and thoughts from a low-level place of negativity. Likewise, if you only view flux with your long-term vision, you risk becoming overwhelmed by the gaping distance between what you have now and what you desire in the future. As a result, you can get confused by which steps to take because there appear to be far too many.
However, when you choose to view flux with a bifocal lens, you will reap the benefits of seeing both the first few steps in front of you and the top of your goal illuminated in the distance.
This bifocal view will allow you to better aim your daily steps in the right direction. Plus, when you're bifocally blessed, you will have the happy choice to swap to a different lens when one is needed more than the other.
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sometimes you get a do-over.

“Oh no, not this again?!?”
That’s the thought we have when we find ourselves facing something (again) that we thought was behind us. After we get through a situation or feeling, we experience relief. We had a big “aha” so much to the extent that we feel transformed. So it can be frustrating when the Uni-verse delivers a situation that feels very similar (if not identical) to past experiences we thought we had already worked through. Wait, isn’t working on ourselves and extracting our lessons supposed to relieve us from having to go through the same thing over and over again?
Not necessarily. Sometimes you get a do-over.

Often we effectively move through a situation with complete confidence that we learned what we needed to learn so that we can prevent the same kind of thing from ever happening in the future. While it may be accurate you learned and have greater awareness, the Uni-verse is now bringing you an amazing opportunity to fully integrate the lessons and new insight.
One of the most powerful ways to heal and break a pattern is when we are experiencing it. Hindsight delivers great “aha” moments, but it often takes actually being in the kind of moments that trigger us for transformation to occur. Let me give you an example. I have a client whose dream is to make a living as a professional dancer. In our sessions, she would do amazing work on building her confidence and clearing limiting beliefs around her worth and abilities; yet, each time she would get close to landing a great gig, a roadblock would appear. She’d get injured, sick or something would go wrong with her house that needed her attention. She experienced great sadness and made it mean she was unworthy of her dreams and that the Uni-verse was “blocking” her from being a dancer.
This was not the case. The truth is the Uni-verse was giving her a do-over. Her entire life she had related to adversity from the perspective of a victim. Instead of being kind to herself, reframing her beliefs and moving through them with acceptance, she allowed things in her external environment to dictate her inner experience. So in the most recent roadblock scenario, she responded differently. Rather than going into victimhood, she embraced the circumstances, went through them lovingly, stepped into her worth, forgave herself for buying into the misunderstanding she was being “blocked”, and continued to move forward in the direction of her dream. She did all this while she was “in” the experience she had previously related to as a roadblock. . . and she booked her next gig.
Talking about how to shift an experience is a dress rehearsal, actually being in the experience and shifting your inner and outer response is the performance! When you get a do-over, it does not mean you are being tested – the Uni-verse doesn’t test us. It does not mean you did something wrong. In fact it doesn’t really mean anything. It is simply an opportunity to practice what you have learned.
So when the Uni- verse delivers a do-over, do this:
- Accept. Do not resist it, judge it, ignore it, or beg the Uni-verse to take it away.
- Remember. Use hindsight to remind yourself of the lessons you learned from past situations that have been similar and apply them! If you promised yourself not to date non-commitment minded people after your last heart-ache and an unavailable person comes your way, remind yourself that you don’t want to feel that way again.
- Forgive. Your freedom lies in forgiveness. Leverage this opportunity to forgive yourself or anyone else for judgments or resentments you may be holding on to that this situation is triggering.
- Chose. Make different choices inwardly and outwardly. Shift how you are treating yourself internally and take action steps in the external world that are different than what you’ve done before that lead you more in the direction you want to go.
Get excited about your do-overs!!
Do-overs are actually awesome doorways for spiritual transformation!! It means your soul is truly ready to release a pattern. Welcome your do-overs and respond inwardly and outwardly differently.
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!
"If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever."
- St. Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets (like a pro)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets (like a pro)

Hello Friends!

I promised a tutorial on how I painted my kitchen cabinets, and I'm making good on it (finally). I apologize for the delay, but these things take time, right? (Or maybe I was just trying to forget the experience altogether before reliving it in tutorial-form).

If you're interested in reading about this project in process, you can read about it here and here. You can see the kitchen reveal here and the full evolution of the kitchen in photos here.

I apologize in advance on the length of this post, but I wanted to make sure I covered everything in one fell swoop. That said, I'm sure I forgot something, so feel free to ask any questions you may have.
I did a great deal of planning and research before tackling this project, and I hope you're able to learn from my obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

First things first. These are some of the most important things to know and consider before taking on a project like this.

1. Unless you have hired help (or a household that will take on all of your responsibilities while working on this), the rest of your house will suffer during this process.
Ok, maybe I'm being a bit dramatic here, but this was my personal experience. However, I should preface this by also mentioning that I work full-time (outside of the home), and spent just about every non-working moment on this project in order to get it done. So, for me, this meant that my typical laundry "pile" turned into a laundry "mountain". The entire house was a wreck, and the hubby and kids had to fend for themselves for the 2-3 weeks that I spent focused on painting. My kids may or may not have eaten cereal out of the box for dinner several nights in a row.

2. Invest in help from the experts.
I had three big questions in researching this project:
  • How do I best prep my cabinets for painting?
  • What kind of paint do I use?
  • How do a I choose a paint color?
I looked at a lot of different kitchen cabinet projects online, which was helpful, but I urge you to talk to the pros at your local paint store. I'm not talking about the teenager that is working at Lowe's. I went to a paint store where the guys working there knew their stuff. I brought in one of my cabinet doors and they could tell me immediately what kind of prep work I needed to do and the best paint to do the job.

I also went to a builder's supply center and looked at different cabinet finishes to find the color/finish I wanted to have in my own home. I took cabinet samples home and decided on colors based on those samples. The awesome guys at the paint store did a color match on the samples, and I'm thrilled with the result.

Here are the samples I used and had color matched for the island and the kitchen cabinets.
3. What is the best method to get the job done and make it look professional?
I know there are a lot of opinions and methods out there, but after painting the kitchen island, (using a sprayer for the doors, and hand painting the frame), I knew that painting the cabinets with a brush would not produce the look that I wanted. Everyone is different, but my cabinets have a lot of raised panels and nooks and crannies, just screaming for drips and brush marks, despite my best efforts.

The clincher for me was seeing this video of someone painting kitchen cabinets with an HVLP sprayer. HVLP = High Volume, Low Pressure. It is a dream for a project like this since you have so much control over the spray in terms of volume and area. You can dial it down to a targeted, narrow spray for corners and small areas, or you can open it up to give you a much broader spray as well. I didn't buy the sprayer in the video, but the seed was planted. I knew this was the way to go (for me).

However, these paint guns can be expensive, since they hook up to a turbine. But, I did some (more) research, and found one that I could hook up to our air compressor (ours is a 6 gallon 150psi, which was more than enough power) for a fraction of the cost. Enter and this Wagner HVLP Conversion Gun of Awesomeness.*
(*I don't get paid for recommending this spray gun, nor is it called a Gun of Awesomeness. I just think it is.)

So, let's get to the details. How did I prep my cabinets? What kind of paint did I use? What finish did I choose?

Paint Prep
Since my cabinets didn't have a glossy finish on the to begin with, I started by giving them a light sanding, and then used Krud Kutter Gloss-Off, which is a great all-in-one cleaner AND deglosser. So, you can kill two birds with one stone with this product.
You can see the primer and paint that I used here as well. Fresh Start Superior Primer and Advance paint by Benjamin Moore. Again, I'm going on the advice of the experts here (he recommended a different primer for glossy surfaces, but I can't remember what). I cannot say enough good things about this Advance paint. Oh. my. goodness. The paint store guy/expert said, "It's revolutionary." He said that it's basically an oil-based paint that acts like a latex (even though it is a latex paint). You get all of the good points of an oil-based paint, with none of the negative. It hardens like an oil, wears like an oil, but cleans up like a latex and it doesn't smell like an oil! See? Revolutionary.

But, before you can get moving with your actual priming/painting, you need to remove your cabinet doors and drawers. I highly recommend putting together some sort of numbering system so that you don't lose track of what goes where. While it all seems to make sense when you're planning, trust me that you will be glad you did this when your paint-weary brain goes to put the doors and drawers back.

TIP: I started out my labeling like this, but ended up putting the post-it notes INSIDE the cabinet door and drawer frames and taping the number (with a little description) with painter's tape on the actual door/drawer. The description came in handy - i.e., left bottom, right of stove. Just trust me on this.

Below, my cabinet coding translates to - Right of stove, cabinet #28, right bottom (RB). Believe me, when you're exhausted and swimming in a Sea of Cabinets that need to be put back in their proper place, you'll be thankful for this little extra help.
You will also need to tape off the insides of the cabinets, the countertops, floor, even some of the ceiling. If you're planning on painting the walls, do it after you paint the cabinets - you'll save some time and trouble in taping off the walls in addition to everything else. This was, by far, my least favorite part of this project. Taping off the insides of cabinet frames is harder than it sounds. But, I can offer you some advice that I learned along the way.

TIP: Tape off the bottom, sides and top of the frame first (newspaper works well for this), and then tape off the back of the inside frame.

You can see what I mean here:
Versus here where I was trying to tape off right at the edge of the inside frames. Don't ask me why it took me so long to figure this out, but it was a maddening process. (And don't mind the water spot on the contractor paper - it's from the water dispenser in the fridge. I swear.)
TIP: When you take off your cabinet hinges, put them in Ziploc baggies and tape them to the inside frame of that cabinet. This makes rehanging much simpler!

You will need to go all Dexter-like and tape off any open areas in your kitchen to avoid spray particles from floating through your house.
And really, if you want to paint the frames with a brush, you could do that and save some of the trouble. But, since my frames had a lot of raised panels, I wanted the clean look that the HVLP sprayer provides, and it was worth the extra prep work.

You will also need to set up a staging area and a "spray booth" for painting your cabinet doors and drawers. If it's warm enough, you can do this in your garage. I ended up setting up shop in our basement storage area. The great part about this space is that there are doors that lead to the outside, so I could open them up for ventilation. Plus, it gave me room to create my little spray booth and space to let my cabinets dry.
You can see that I have a little table set up here, with a piece of MDF (that is actually a large storage shelf). I nailed five finish nails on this board so that I could easily maneuver around the cabinet door to paint and not worry about the door sticking to anything when I had to move it. The same holds true for the area outside of my spray booth, where the cabinets were set to dry. Since I was painting both the front and the back of my cabinets, I wanted to keep the drips to a minimum, as well as the possibility of them sticking to anything while drying, and the nails allowed for this.
Note: I obviously removed the hardware before doing this, and also used Elmer's wood putty in one of the holes since I was going with knobs vs. pulls on the cabinet doors. Make sure you plan out the placement of your knobs and pulls before you start painting, to avoid wasting time at the end of the process making adjustments that would require more priming and painting.

Now the fun begins! Priming and painting!

Before you begin spraying your cabinets, practice on a large piece of cardboard or an old box so that you can get the hang of the spray gun and figure out how to best adjust the settings. It's really very simple to use and I promise you that it doesn't take long to get the hang of using it.

You can easily control the flow of the paint, direction and diameter of the spray and the amount of air pressure as you go along. It just takes some experimenting to get used to it. This was my first time using it, and you saw my results!

Some diagrams from to help explain what I'm talking about here (and again, I'm NOT getting paid!)

Paint spray patterns:
Paint pattern size:
Air and paint flow control:
TIP: If you're going to paint both sides of your cabinet doors, start by painting the inside of the cabinet first. That way, if you make any mistakes or have problems, you'll learn early and it will be on an inconspicuous part of the cabinet. Plus, this way the cabinets will end up drying with the outside of the cabinet facing UP, and you don't have to worry about any potential scratches or indentations from the nails that are used to balance your cabinets for drying. You will have a freshly painted cabinet surface when you rehang your doors.

Start by priming the outside edge of the door with a narrow spray, making sure that you cover the outside edges of the door.
Then, fill in the center area, ensuring complete coverage.
Carefully pick up the door and move it to the drying area. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. ;-)
Once you get into a rhythm, you can blow through the doors relatively quickly. The priming probably took the longest, because I only used one coat of primer and wanted to be sure I covered the doors really well. I followed the primer with two coats of paint. Once you get started, it's a hurry up and wait kind of process. For the primer, I gave it a good 24 hours to dry for each side. For the paint, it's a 16 hour wait time in between coats, which essentially amounts to a whole day for each coat. For each side.

TIP: Clean your HVLP spray gun after you're done for the day. It's really easy, so don't be intimidated! All I had to do was empty the paint out of the spray cup, fill it with warm water, and spray it out until the water ran clear. (Of course, instructions are provided with the spray gun). Also, you don't need to clean the needle every time, as indicated in the directions. That is something that needs to be done more occasionally (I read this on the website).

So, do the math. Two sides, one coat of primer, two coats of paint. You're talking about at least week of just painting and waiting. Then you want to let them sit and cure a bit before you rehang them. I recommend 2-3 days of cure time once you have completed all of the priming and painting.

While your doors are curing you can tackle the frames (or at least that's what I did). I saved this piece for last, because this is what rendered my kitchen pretty much inoperable since you're taping EVERYTHING off in order to get a clean spray of just the frames. The same process holds for the frames also:
  • Lightly sand the frames (I used 220 grit sandpaper)
  • Remove excess dust and wipe clean with tack cloth
  • Clean and degloss the frame surface with Krud Kutter
  • Prime cabinet frames and allow to dry 24 hours
  • Lightly sand and use tack cloth before painting
  • Paint cabinet frames with 2-3 coats of paint, waiting 24 hours in between coats
  • Wait 2-3 days for paint to cure before rehanging doors
TIP: Since gravity is working against you on the cabinet frames, I recommend using a fine spray so that you avoid drips as much as possible. If you do get drips, the paint experts told me to avoid sanding too much in between because the paint can gum up since it's not cured. If you have drips, you might want to wait until it's fully cured and then sand, as it will be more "sand-friendly". You can touch up with a small artist's brush.

The paint experts told me that it takes 30 days for the Advance paint to fully cure. Don't panic - it's not like you're going to be working with sticky cabinet doors or anything. Just use a little extra caution in the first month.

Once your doors and frames have cured enough to reassemble your kitchen, the fun part of putting your kitchen back together begins! From here, you can install new hardware if you have it, reinstall your hinges (or replace your old ones with new), and then rehang your doors and drawers.

If you're installing new hardware and need help on where to place it, pick up one of these handy little tools to save you some time and headache:
Now, sit back and enjoy your new kitchen!

I hope you found this tutorial helpful, and most importantly, I hope you'll begin to see that you can do this project!

I think I'm the fifth person in as many days to post cabinet painting tutorials! Here are some links to some other resources that might be useful:

Melissa at 320 Sycamore
Traci at Beneath my Heart
Sherry and John at Young House Love
Marian at Miss Mustard Seed

Linking up to:
Home Stories A to Z - Tutorials and Tips Link Party
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesday
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

When you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration.

"All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won't succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy."
- Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

Monday, June 18, 2012

5.00 Off Achatz Homemade Pie Co.

Wishing all our Dad's out there a very Happy Father's Day! Visit any of our stores to try our new Strawberry Silk with Fresh Strawberries on top. A sure crowd pleaser for all Father's Day celebrations.
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$5.00 off $20 Purchase
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Valid 6/18/2012-6/22/2012
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Bring Smiles & Laughter into a Soul.

Make a difference, Touch someone's soul and bring laughter into someone's life.....
Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

You can't change people.

You can't change people.
I can't tell you how many times I've messed up thinking I could. I think it's a pretty common thing to do, don't you?

Have you ever really wanted a relationship or partnership to work and you see the potential of the other person and you just want them to realize it? You just want them to see all the great things about themselves, and THEN once they do, they will finally be the person who can love you back or be the amazing partner you wanted them to be?

Yup, me, too.

I've had partnerships and relationships where I was spending all my time in fantasyland wishing that these people were something they weren't. I kept trying to get them to see their greatness. I have also been in partnerships and relationships where people have done that with me.

The thought is, "If they would only..." fill in the blank, "THEN I could love them." Or, "THEN they will love me."

I can't tell you how much time I've wasted doing this in the past.

I was listening to Ryan Seacrest one morning and he had Sherri Shepard from The View on his show. Ryan asked Sherri why she was single and she had the most amazing response. It floored me.

She said, "Ryan, I've spent a lot of time being with guys who "have" potential, but I realized that I want a man who HAS REALIZED his potential". That statement hit me in the head like a ton of bricks.

I had been investing in illusions.

NO WONDER IT DIDN'T WORK OUT. I was investing in my idea of who I wanted someone to be. Talk about an incorrect spiritual equation.

Love Loves people right where they are.

And I realized that if I was investing in the illusion of someone else's potential, I must not have realized my own. I realized that to attract someone who was whole, I had to be whole. That's where I got the inspiration to write, "If you want wholeness, be whole and more wholeness will be attached to you."

Writing about it now it sounds so obvious, but I can tell you, in those moments, it wasn't. All that emotion, all that desire, all the yearning - it clouded everything.

So here's the flip of it.

The potential you see in others is your own great potential seeing itself. And when you start to REALIZE that potential, you will NATURALLY attract a lover, partners and all types of people who resonate with your new vibration. It can be no other way.

So here's a practice for today. Instead of focusing on someone else's potential and what's possible for them, focus on your own. Focus on realizing your own potential, your own greatness.

Ask The universe to bring you people, places and circumstances that serve your Highest Good.

Don't invest in other people's illusions; let people show you who they are, right here and right now. You deserve to be seen, to be Loved fully and for your Light to be honored by the people in your life. Don't accept anything less than that.
~Mastin Kipp

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Experiencing a massive shift in our mental, emotional or spiritual life?

Sometimes when we experience a massive shift in our mental, emotional or spiritual life, things can get worse before they get better.
One of the first things that we must confront with any addiction, whether it is to a toxic substance, an unhealthy distraction or an abusive relationship, is the level of honesty that we bring to the table.
This means that in addition to coping with the neurochemical balancing act that is taking place in the body, we also must look closely at what we desire, our resolve and long-term objectives.
These are big questions. And asking them can stir up quite a storm. Nonetheless, every day many of us are making a change for the better. We are making changes, weathering the storm and seeing the benefits.
How we nourish our physical body is very similar to how we nourish our mental and emotional body.
When I cleanse or detoxify my physical body, I always apply four straightforward steps to the process. Guess what? These four steps work with the fundamental process of detoxification. They can be applied to any area of life!
First: I always make sure that I have the physical energy to cleanse. When we detoxify, we can sometimes experience what is called a Herxheimer’s reaction. This is the result of a die-off of pathogenic organisms in the body. In order to manage the transition from point A to point B, it is essential to first fortify the body, mind and spirit.
In life this means things like:
- Eating only foods that truly nourish the body.
- Keeping up a physical and spiritual practice that brings balance to life.
- Taking time out that is devoted to you and your dreams.
The Second and Third Steps: The second and third steps that I apply to a physical cleanse are to correct my digestion and to resolve any infections.
When we detoxify on a mental, emotional, or spiritual level, we must ask:
- How am I digesting life? In other words, am I able to receive and assimilate my life experience?
- How can I enhance what I receive and assimilate? For example, what takes priority? Maybe a daily meditative practice or morning affirmations will do the trick.
- Am I allowing toxic people or toxic situations into my life?
- What are my triggers? Or in other words, what makes a bad situation worse?
- What beliefs do I hold that support unhealthy relationships and unhealthy habits?
The Fourth Step: The fourth and final step is the cleansing process itself.
This process on a physical and mental level is where the big shift comes. So keep allowing yourself to let go and affirm that you are ready to heal.
Once I reach this step, I know that I am fully supported, that my goal is in sight and that my success is inevitable!
# # #
Are you not living to your potential? Do you have health problems that you can’t seem to find the right answers for resolving? Take the Candida quiz as well as learn more about the Body Ecology Diet, download recipes, and receive a FREE Quick Start Guide and audios on detoxification/weight loss, visit
Donna Gates, bestselling author of The Body Ecology Diet and The Baby Boomer Diet, is on a mission to change the way the world eats. Over the past 25 years, she has become one of the most beloved and respected authorities in the field of digestive health, diet and nutrition, enjoying a worldwide reputation as an expert in candida, adrenal fatigue, autism, autoimmune diseases, weight loss and anti-aging.
Lisa Ekanger Your Realtor!

On Father's Day ~ Wishes for Children.

Paul Harvey’s Wishes for Children:

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better.
I'd really like for them to know about hand-me-down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meatloaf sandwiches. I really would.
I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.
I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.
It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.
I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.
I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother/sister. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him.
When you want to see a movie and your little brother/sister wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him/her.
I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.
On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don't ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your mom.
If you want a slingshot, I hope your dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.
I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.
When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.
I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy/girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what Ivory soap tastes like.
May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove, and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole.
I don't care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don't like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.
I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your grandma/grandpa and go fishing with your uncle.
May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.
I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Hanukah/Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.
These things I wish for you — tough times and disappointment, hard work, and happiness. To me, it's the only way to appreciate life.
Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!