We’ll leave the light on for you

night lighting outside a home
I would love to come home to this!

I took a walk around my Albany Park Chicago neighborhood around 7pm tonight.  It was dark, but the night sky still had a hint of lighting, a deep cobalt blue.  For me the exterior lighting of a house or building welcomes people and can set a wonderful, cheerful tone.  Though I was suprised by many darkened exteriors, I did find enough cheerful evening exceptions that made my walk even more fun.  Here are the highlights. The first photo shows a walkway with cute little lights and and the 4446 street address in an illuminated signpost.  How cute is that!

March lights
Every day can be a holiday

Next is a house that has what many would call Christmas lights still on its front bushes in March.  It makes me smile.  I bet if they have little kids they love it.

If these lights are still up this summer I may have to feature them again.  🙂

Here at lower left we have a bright house announcing itself among tons of other dark houses.  Even if someone doesn’t care about cheerfulness, this lighting has to make it safer than the shadowy neighboring houses.  Finally at the end of my evening walk, I come to our porch and see the door wreath I made, with daffodils for spring.  Some may say it’s tacky but to me it’s cheerful and welcomes positivity into the house.  I heard that in Russia smiling often is considered crazy.  If that’s crazy then I don’t want to be sane!  Here’s hoping your pathway is always well lit and your home always safe and welcoming.

porch at night
The safest porch on the block
door wreath for spring, night view
Our welcome home door wreath for spring

In praise of falafel and hummus from Salam Restaurant

falafel being made
Falafel being made at Salam Restaurant

Today’s blog post is dedicated to our love of falafel, and hummus, in particular from Salam Restuarant near our Albany Park Chicago home.  Here are 145 yelp reviewers giving stellar reviews on Salam’s yelp page.

So why is falafel bright green on the inside?  It’s because of all the parsley that it is green.  The batter is made up of parsley, chick pea, green onion, and secret spices.  🙂  Here we see them using what looks like a small ice cream scoop to create a formed scoop of the batter before it is dropped into a deep fryer basket and fried in vegetable oil.

falafel and hummus
Falafel, hummus, & pita, from Salam Restaurant

I chose a small order of hummus with pita to go with our falafel.  Boy was it amazing.  According to their yelp page, WGN proclaimed Salam to have the best hummus in Chicago, last October 2010.  Lorenzo couldn’t agree more.  He says it’s the best f*#@^ing hummus he’s ever had.  Can I write ‘fucking’ in my own blog?  Anyway, if you have never eaten this food you need to.  Really.  🙂

Oh how we love yelp.com

There are three main reasons why we love yelp.com.  By we, I mean 80% me Janet and 20% Lorenzo.  I am a huge yelp fan.  The first reason is that my psychic reading & healing practice is listed as a business in yelp.com under Chicago.  Here’s the page for my readings on yelp.  The client reviews on that page help many people to learn about my readings!  Also here’s the yelp page for our dog boarding business Barneys Home Dog Boarding.  At the moment, nobody loves us yet on yelp for that.  Someday!

yelp buttons
What businesses have you learned about on yelp?

The second reason “we” love yelp.com is that it’s a fantastic resource as a consumer.  We have found restaurants, used tire places, cupcake bakeries, a salt cave spa place, a pet supplies place, etc.  I almost always check out yelp when looking for something.  Not only has yelp helped me to find the best businesses, it has encouraged me to get out there and be more experiential and try new things.  Over the last few years I have written over 120 reviews on yelp.  Here’s a link to my own personal yelp user (consumer) account.

The third reason “we” love yelp.com is the bookmark feature within yelp.  If you create your own free yelp account, you can create unlimited bookmarks for yourself with notes to yourself about whatever you are bookmarking.  For example, you could bookmark “Nazareth Sweets” in yelp, and remind yourself to go here because it’s baklava heaven and that they will give you samples if you ask.  You can make your bookmarks private or public.  I have a very poor memory and my inspiration sometimes comes and goes, so this helps me to remind myself about places I want to go and why.

So that’s it.  Confessions of a yelp fan.  🙂

What I learned at tonight’s Town Hall Meeting plus a free gift

Tonight I went to a Town Hall Meeting for the 17th Police District of Chicago, where we live.   I confess I figured I would be bored to tears, but fortunately I was wrong!  We heard about crime statistics, saw PowerPoint slides with writing way too small, and heard from the new Police Commander who seemed capable.  The CAPS guy definitely made an effort at humor, and everything moved along pretty well.

car anti-theft device
Free steering wheel anti-theft device, plus free candy

So we were offered free anti-theft devices for our car steering wheels which I thought was neat.  Who knew you would get a free gift at the meeting?   Mine is in this photo, along with some peppermint candies that were in a Streets & Sanitation handout about rat control.  No really!  😉

I think my one take-away was that car theft is up 40% nationwide and locally.  I didn’t realize that.  Also to my surprise, they said the Honda Civic and Accord are the number one stolen cars, years 1994-1998, both nationwide, in Chicago, and in our 17th district.  These cars are stolen for the parts.  They were discussing how people can break into your garage doors too.  Delightful.  I am entertaining the idea that ignorance is not actually bliss.  I will go to some CAPS meetings now, to see what else I learn.  Hopefully I will meet some nice neighbors too.

What do you need this spring?

yellow crocus photo
Spring crocus flowers show inspiration can come from tiny things too.

So now that it’s spring, how do you feel?  Do you feel inspired to make changes in your life?  Do you feel tired and ready for a nap?  However you feel, it’s OK.

I think if you try to acknowledge how you feel, and nurture yourself, it can only help.

Often spring is a time of change.  Winter is finally over.  It’s nice to feel a more obvious vitality from the earth.

What do you need now that it’s spring?  More inspiration, relaxation, less worry, more creative opportunities, a few naps?  Sometimes people don’t make personal goals for themselves because they pick huge impossible ones then don’t achieve them.  Why not take a deep breath and make a simple, tiny, approachable goal or two for yourself this season?

The Comforts of a Home

Well we have two bits of happy dog-related news.  One is that Mitzi/Sandy, the beagle we were comp-boarding that was featured in two blog entries found her own forever home and was adopted this past Wednesday!  She now has a beagle sister and her human family includes two of the most considerate girls and a mom and dad.  Yay for Mitzi/Sandy!

dog photo
Leah relaxing in our home while her mommy travels

Now meet Leah!  Leah is a wonderful senior dog we are boarding for her mom while she is out of town.  Leah is 10 years young and today is our first full day boarding her in our home.  Boy was I surprised this morning when I let her set the pace of our walk and it was a real power walk!   Here she is snoozing and watching me as I get ready to do a phone reading.   We are still watching her with our cats, but so far so good.  🙂  For more info on our in-home dog boarding check out www.BarneysHomeDogBoarding.com

Our Famous Foster – Mitzi (Sandy) Part 2

Well our foster beagle’s fame is growing and now she is up on petfinder.com, THE location to find an adoptable rescue pet.

beagle photo
Sandy (Mitzi) is a peaceful beagle who needs her forever home

Here she is in her photo shoot with professional pet photographer Sheri Berliner.  Please help us spread the word about this mellow dog.  She could fit right into a multiple dog household, as she is submissive and likes other dogs, cats, adults, strangers, children, and babies.

She deserves a stable, forever home.  We are comp-boarding/fostering her for Sheri’s rescue Petraits Pet Photography, so we know first hand how soft those cute ears are.   Go check out her petfinder listing here.  Please forward it to the animal lovers you know.

Creating Positive Structure – Magazine Day

photo of magazines
a new plan so we start to read our magazines.....

So there’s something about magazines in our home.  We haven’t been reading them.  We want to read them, but just do not make the time.  Then there’s not just one magazine to be read, but multiple issues, which become piles of issues, that have not been read.  I actually gave away months of National Geographic because I was tired of having so many lie around unread.

So tonight it hit us.  Let’s create a Magazine Day!  We appointed Lorenzo the Magazine Czar, and then he decreed that our weekly Magazine Day would be on Wednesday and our article number would be two.  This means each Wednesday we each have to read two articles of our choice and explain them to the other person.  Sure that’s only four articles per week that we would learn about, but four is a world better than zero!  I feel better already, like a nagging recurring item on my subconscious to-do list has suddenly fallen into place on my calendar.

Sometimes people have so many rules and expectations from others in their consciousness that they are too stressed.  They long to do nothing at all, as an expression of their free will.  Well even that can get old.  Sometimes you need to invent new rules for yourself to help guide yourself into new discoveries and wellness.  So here’s to your freedom and wellness, and here’s to our new Magazine Day!  I’ll keep you posted!

Introducing Mitzi the Beagle- Part 1

beagle photo
Mitzi (Sandy) the beagle is looking for her forever home.

What’s brown and white and full of love?  Mitzi!  We have been complimentary-boarding Mitzi (also called Sandy) now since Sunday.  She is a foster dog with a local animal rescue, in need of a forever-home.  She is only three years old, cat-friendly, dog-friendly, and kid-friendly. She has a very mellow demeanor with people, super gentle with children, and loves belly rubs.  She definitely is fun and playful with other playful dogs, in that respectful, play-bow kind of way.

She was given up by her family on Sunday, and like any loyal dog she still misses them, but is getting through her grief like a champ.  This photo is not the best, but she seems to be camera shy when I try to snap a photo w/my iPhone.  Anyway, she’s a real sweetheart and we will post more photos and stories about her soon.  If you know anyone who might be interested in adopting her, please forward this blog entry to them.  They can call me, Janet Wright, at 773-728-7884, or email us at JL@BarneysHomeDogBoarding.com for more information on her.

March Mermaidosity – A Cornucopia of Handpicked Mermaid Art on Etsy

I love mermaids and today on etsy.com I posted a treasury list of mermaid art, your one stop location for the coolest mermaid art on the enormous site that is etsy.com.  A treasury list is a collection of up to sixteen different art pieces, from sixteen different artists, generally organized around a theme.  Anyone with an etsy account can compile treasury lists, and keep them private or make them public.

Copyrighted image "Amber the Mermaid" by Lorenzo Ross
Find your inner mermaid with our new Etsy treasury list

Lorenzo’s “Amber the Mermaid” print rekindled my love for mermaids, inspiring me to create this treasury.

Here’s a link to our public etsy treasury list “March Mermaidosity” including Lorenzo’s print and fantastic pieces from 15 other artists.  There’s a wide variety of colors and styles.  It’s a feast for the eyes, and it also includes a creative piece from another Chicago artist whose shop name is whirleygirl.  I’d love to use some of the images here, but they are all copyrighted so you’ll have to go to our March Mermaidosity Etsy Treasury List to check them out!