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"Where better to care for the soul than in the details of our daily lives?....The soul has an absolute, unforgiving need for regular excursions into enchantment. It requires them like the body needs food and the mind needs thought... An enchanted world is one that speaks to the soul, to the mysterious depths of the heart and imagination where we find value, love and union with the world around us. As mystics of many religions have taught, that sense of rapturous union can give a sense of fulfillment that makes life purposeful and vibrant." ~ Thomas Moore.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Shabby Dinner For One

*Of Note: :D   I have re-read this post this morning and can see how silly it is, but because I am not perfect and in my world occasional sillyness is allowed, even if public :D:D:D, I will keep every word as I wrote it because it was authentic to the moment, and to the wine lol , and to the giddiness of creating magical moments and magical spaces, and I forgive myself! lolol  So.....on to sillyness lolol.

I think it happened.
I think I've been bitten, smitten, I got the bug bad.
I dont know what happened.
I don't how it happened.
I don't know WHY it happened.

But, I have to go full Shabby Chic now.

Once upon a time, I had my own style. I didn't watch much t.v., and had left the country to live in Bali, Indonesia and set up a business which I could run from some other place in the world. That was in Septemeber of 2001, and that dream turned into a nightmare really quick. 6 months later I had to return to the good ol US of A....and start life all over again. I rented an apartment in a neighborhood I knew in Miami, and one neighbor who came by said she loves ''my style''. I didn't know I had one. I thought everyone just bought what they liked and put it up and that was that. But she said, 'oh! you do the 'shabby chic style'"....
"the what?!"
"shabby chic"
"what is THAT?!"
"oh, know, ......'shabby chic' ? the style of decorating ?
"no actually, I have no idea what it is. What is it?" (personally I abhorred the name! I DONT do ''shabby"!)
"its a style. Rachel Ashwell does it"

perplexed clueless look remains.

"oh well" she says, ''well its a style and that is what you do. I do it too, want to see my place?"
"sure, why not"

I go to her apartment a few doors down and see a cute little space, feminine, nice, but still have no clue what ''style'' she is referring to.

5 months later, I am in this house with this housemate, John, and he has cable television. I liked to watch only the cooking and home improvement shows. Then there appears this one show with this Rachel Ashwell woman, and when housemate saw her furnished rooms, he said ''oh look! they stole your style!"
"what else is new. it happens all the time. I invent something and someone else makes millions from it".

But still, I loved seeing her process. I didn't even know there was one! I didn't have one, I simply bought what I liked, from flea markets which a coworker introduced me to, and from other stores, but altogether, I just bought what I liked. Simple really. there is the entire industry world wide infatuated with a style of living that will never go away.
And lately I have been remiss without knowing why and when I see some pictures in bloglandia, I go mad with desire. I feel infected! I feel ill with the "gotta have it now itis" Its a real disease you know?! Seriously! Its real and its serious! Once infected with GHIN-itis, there is nothing to do but to give in, and immediately! You will steal, beg and borrow money to acquire those things which simply look delicious just sitting there! I mean, its only for looks! and yet.....I must be surrounded by it! It's a bad ''itis'' thingy! sigh.

Well, that happened to me. I resisted and was immune and impervious for years! saying I will not give in to a style which I had anyway, but in my own way of course, which had NO pink anywhere at all LOLOL, and that I would do something different as usual, and create another style.
Well bloglandia will not allow that, it simply won't. I happen to be following all kinds of blogs and one thing they seem to have in common, go figure, is the shabby chic style, with lots of pink no less! A color I never had any intentions of using in my life, EVER! But as of last year, I incorporated pale pink in a few places, very lightly, nothing obvious. Now, I'm even painting the outside of this house pink....yes I am......and almost done too! Its a good color for the tropics.

Well, what has happened in these past few days is nothing short of a crisis. No idea why or how, but suddenly I HAVE TO HAVE THE SHABBY CHIC LOOK in this house and now. WTH?
How to do this? I've never had to copy anything before, and the process of ''studying'' and then ''reproducing'' makes me embarrassed of myself as an artist! but still, I knew I needed that ''look'' in my space, and now. First I realized I must get the colors right, then I realized there involves alot of vintage, then some pinks, and lots of fabrics namely linens and cottons, and most of all FLOWERS EVERYWHERE. This part was easy as a florist myself, but I've never had this much in this house as I do now. Oh there was a time when I purchased 8-10 dozen long stemmed roses each and every week! yes I did! but those days are gone, and frugal is my name.
Well, having right now some flowers everywhere was nice, but I needed the ''shabby chic'' look to feel right. Oh dang this infection! today, I robbed peter to pay paul to buy flowers in those right colors. I replaced the flowers I had just done because they needed it too soon, but today I am in love again. Once I did the kitchen table, I decided to see what it would look like if I added some pretty dishes and some shabby napkins and my silver silverware.....and I saw something that made me smile. I don't think its perfect, but its a good start.
I had dinner. I made a beautiful soup, and for those of you who read this far lolol I will give the recipe for a beautiful Warming Miso Noodle Cilantro Soup.

Here are some pics, tell me what you I ''getting'' it right yet??

This is the light of one candle. In person it is soooo very much prettier, awe inspiring actually, wish you were here to see it. This picture pales in comparison to the live glow and light of candlelight.

I put the chandelier up....

 I took these pictures really fast, and my soup was still perfectly hot when I sat down for it.

 And I have to say, this is absolutely, the most beautiful dinner setting I have EVER HAD IN MY LIFE ! I was so tickled pink lolol, I pulled out the wine for a glass to celebrate, with a case of the giggles lolol

All pinks, lavenders, white and raspberry.....loved the deep color for a shocker. :D

 I love the white little pumpkins under the cloche.....need to get a few more.

 My version of homemade ''shabby chic'' napkins

 on my linen ruffle tablecloth......I did have a glass of wine, people, so yes I'm flappin a bit here lolol

Home Goods finally got back in some more of these Efferve effervescent drinks, all natural and so delish! Home Goods is my absolute favorite store of all time! Isn't it wonderful the best flavors are in the right colors?? lolol

 and here is my beautiful Miso Noodle Cilantro Soup.....recipe coming simple and so comfy!

candle light again.......

 I finished my soup, it was sooooo delish and so rewarding, I had so much to see on the table to enjoy!

 one of the arrangements. I will take pics of tomorrow in the daylight and post them.....loving lots of flowers!

 candle and pumpkins and gourds........

 This is a candleholder I got from IKEA.......its very pretty, lacy and versatile.

Warming Miso Noodle Cilantro Soup:

I use chickpea Miso from the healthfood store.  

I add two tablespoons of this miso to a pot of clean water, enough water for a bowl of soup. This is very pasty and must be worked with a fork to break it up and mix thoroughly into the water with no lumps.
I add half teaspoon of hot chile garlic paste, available at any chinese or oriental store.
I add as much dried seaweed as I want, either wakame or hijike also from oriental store or healthfoods.

Then I add a bunch of dried angel hair mung bean noodles from oriental store....they come in individual servings.

I let this warm up. This soup is done once the seaweed is rehydrated, and it should NEVER boil.
I stir and cut up the noodles in the pot with a scissors, You don't have to, I personally don't like long noodles.
Once noodles and seaweed is soft and liquid is smoking but NOT boiled, it is done, but there are few things to add.
Serve it up in a pretty bowl, and add some fresh squeezed lime juice, sprinkle some toasted sesame oil, some fresh cilantro and some fresh thai basil. Today I also added some scallions because they were sitting there.
Mix and consume immediately. It is done in 10 minutes.
I like to keep the last items, the lime juice, toasted sesame oil and basil and cilantro served in pretty bowls to add fresh to the soup while at the table. It is great to see how others personalize their soup with condiments left for the choosing. One can also add mung bean sprouts to this, its actually an open eneded soup to make it as you like it, but as I do it, everyone loves it!

Enjoy and thanks for visiting!

Sharing this post with Rose Vignettes Fresh Cut Friday

and with Rooted In Thyme

and with Shabbilcious Friday

and with My Romantic Home



  1. Well I think you did very well. Your table setting is lovely. Not sure what look it is either,but does it matter. I think it's perfectly beautiful and your soup is a must try.

  2. Dearest Lady and fellow peace-lover,

    Your new header is splendid. With that harpist, the gentle dancer and following post, I am in an ethereal mood this very hour. It is still dark, it's a Saturday morning with no stressful and pressing engagements to worry over, and I am loving every moment with you.

    I too have some white pumpkins and in the middle of reading and viewing your post, I had to run to my dining room where I have a basket full of them. YOU GAVE ME AN IDEA! I put one of my small battery candles in the middle of the pile of pumpkins, and OH! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL and calming scene!

    Your soup looks delicious. This my dear, is what we have the privilege of doing, to fluff our nests, to enjoy the quiet moments and listen to what calls us toward peace. Thank you for visiting my post, and I wish you nothing but LOVE - in your GORGEOUS WORLD of white, pink, and any other color that calls you! Anita

  3. And indeed you inspired me today! Yes, to think of how someone we cannot see but have all faith in to be an inspiration is pure MAGIC. And this is what I want to do, and this is what you do dearest Lady. Peace and NAMASTE! Anita

  4. Good morning Serena.....It is so peaceful in this world of yours. You did a wonderful job with YOUR "shabby chic" look. I'm going to try your soup it sounds delicious.

    Have a wonderful weekend,



  5. Well, dear Sister... so much to say about this post. First of all, I don´t believe it´s silly, quite on the contrary am convinced that we should get a dose of this "magic wine" and allow ourselves to be naïf from time to time... it´s definitely therapeutic!

    About "shabby chic fever", you know for sure I´m a big fan of Rachel Ashwell, but not because I think she has INVENTED anything, but because I feel she was clever enough to take something I had always been doing (rescueing old furniture, buying pretty things at flea markets and garage sales, looking for a clean simple look) and turn it into a very profitable business... Anyway, lately I´ve been reading some of her books on line -they are not sold in printed edition here- and I discovered something very interesting: she NEVER intended to create an aesthetic concept which should be TEXTUALLY imitated, but only gave some practical tips to create a certain kind of "feeling" when you come into a room or a house. In fact, I suspect she herself wanted each one of her customers and followers to build their own personal version of "Shabby Chic"; but unfortunately many of them misunderstood it and thought they had to COPY her style, as we see everyday in Bloglandia -which I prefer to call now "Bloggywood", you know well the reason ;)- That´s why there are many pics of homes that look so unreally "perfect", almost scenographic, while the essence of Shabby Chic is precisely the beauty of IMPERFECTION!

    What I´m trying to say is, for instance, the decor I chose for my future beach cottage has a lot of the "Shabby Chic charme", ALTHOUGH it doesn´t include any pinks at all, but blues, lavenders and soft purples; and doesn´t have many distressed furniture or rusty objects either (however, we all change along our lives and so does our sense of style, so in a couple of years I may suddenly go crazy for pinks and flowered patterns too! LOL) I mean, don´t think your Shabby Chic is not "perfect", in fact don´t LABEL it at all: just enjoy what it is, YOURS!!! Personally I love your ability to create a peaceful sanctuary of beauty on a shoestring budget... and by far would prefer to live in your place than in Rachel´s LOL

    Warmest hugs,

    PS: You really lived in BALI? OMG, you never stop to amaze me girl!

    1. Hello there sis!
      thanks for all your words :D, I did and do feel silly but really don't quite care too much lolol. And you are so right, again about 'bloglandia'' really being more of a ''bloggywood'' and it gets a little creepy sometimes, seeing how staged so many photos are....what is that ABOUT ? And so I won't take this bug seriously. I think of dismantling my things as they are just to create that ''look'' and I don't feel good about it.
      And agreed on doing our own thing, of course, I do this, but the ''other look'' is definitely something I love too.
      Yes, I do believe you are right about Rachel not really meaning for people to ''copy'' what she did, but to do their own version of reusing, repurposing with a comforting feminine softness using pastels, lots of flowers and simplicity. Yet I see people copying exactly what she has done, buying all of her things, having them in their homes and being happy about it too works for them. But Rachel has been quoted as saying "it is better to fail at originality than to be successful at imitation". So that pretty much sums up the following of imitators, however, she is making a living off of them. :D
      And she does seem to be changing her style a bit. I recently saw some photos of her own home interior and it doesn't look quite the same as the original look, I think she's changing it up a bit.
      And yes, she did not invent it, it was something so many of already had and she made it into an iconic moneymaker.
      I just don't like being infected ever, with any kind of ''gotta have it now-itis".....whoa....
      that can hurt. As it is, my robbing peter to pay paul for those flowers is hurting me now. lolol.....oh is for the living.....and I so enjoyed it and the view still makes me happy each time I walk into the kitchen, and the living room too. House mate is loving the flowers, he didn't know it would have such an effect, and he brought home some of the white lilies that have become something I can't live without. Apparently he didn't like the naked space either lolol..

      warmest hugs

  6. Looks like you are doing a very goo job with the shabby chic style. Your dinner for one looks lovely!

  7. Hello Again Serena~ I always get so excited when I see your blog in my mail! You always and without fail inspire me if not with gardening or interiors or food then with spirit. Something in this blog resonated with me. Like you I just simply buy what I like; what makes me feel good and happy. As a designer I encourage my clients to do the same. Don't go with the new "it" color or design style of the moment. My motto is "To thine own self be true". I love Rachel Ashwell too and many other designers and refer back to them many times. So as I look around my own home this morning I reflect that yes I, like you remain true to myself. I love your table for one! It is "shabby" yet so distinctly you. As for pink~ sigh~ I have always loved pink. And baby blue too. I have one room in my home that is strictly mine The Boudoir a very eclectic Shabby, French Country, Art Deco mixed room with crystals hanging in the windows that dance over the floors and walls in the afternoon. This is my room for creating and day dreaming and laying on the floor with my cats to have prisms of color dance over us. This morning you have inspired me to dream and perhaps get back to a something that has been pushed to the back burner for too long. Thank you! Your recipe looks delicious I might have to try it tonight~ I am all out of cat treats so off to the market for me! Have a lovely day~ XOXO Deborah

    1. Hi Deborah, what a lovely response! and I thank you so much for your kind words and interest.....I LOVE WHAT YOU SAID LOL....and makes me feel like public blogging is beneficial to others out there after all. Thank you so very much ! You made my day.
      I love the prisms too. You may have seen when I redid my bedroom with pearl grey walls how I hung swarovski crystals on the windows for those prisms, and I have those crystals hanging by every window so every day I see them in all corners of this house, they are so much fun! such living light! Let me know how the soup goes, I love this one! Thanks again.....for allowing me to inspire you. hugs.

  8. Sometimes ... you just go with the creative juice! I love your setting. Simple, pretty, fun! I hope it
    brought you joy. Isn't that the point? Thank you for the recipe. Looks yummy. :)
    Thank you for joining in for Fresh-Cut Friday!

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  9. Beauitful dinner "party"-love the evening atmosphere in your home,you have beautiful things!!!

  10. I love your "Romantic Dinner for One". The table was set so perfect and the decorations were beautiful. I never thought about treating myself like that, great idea!! I can't wait try your soup recipe. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful evening!! Also, I just want to thank you so much for always stopping by with your inspiring comments. Always love hearing from you, you make me smile!

  11. Dearest, beautiful Lady!!! You made me giggle with this one, for I TOTALLY understand your giddiness and joy when it comes to things like this!
    The first photo with the candle and table setting...the word that came to my mind was "sacred" you know what you teach me? (besides the joys of gorgeousness...:) You teach me that honoring ONESELF in this very special and beautiful way is very...VERY important. I thank you so much for that.
    Indeed, your dinner is so marvelous and delicious from every perspective.
    I adore miso soup, it is so comforting, and I will keep your version in mind...(and I've never tried chickpea miso...must try it soon...)

    Everything is a vision of loveliness!
    I hope you are doing well, my friend...
    Love and blessings,
    - Irina :)

    1. lolol, glad to make you laugh, I keep laughing when I think about it, the post, the time I did ''it", not knowing what I was doing, and then rereading the post, wanting to take it out, then leaving it with a caveat! lol.
      I didn't really set it up ''for'' dinner, it just happened. I did the flowers, then I got hungry, and made a soup and when I saw that spot,, I could not, not sit THERE!
      It did feel good, enjoying that all for my self. Usually I go through that for guests and when I sat down by myself to eat, I realized how wonderful it was to BE the guest and how I enjoyed the whole ''set up''. I sighhhhed......and thought ''yes, this is how I want to be treated".....and decided that was the only way to live and knew that I had to treat myself that way in every case from now on.
      The flowers everywhere, not just in one place, are now a staple. Even the housemate is in on it....hehehe ......yesterday he brought home two bunches of lilies, not just the one! lolol....and I left them tall....they are stunning!.
      You will love the soup, let me know if you try it.

  12. Oh, I am so glad I found your blog! I don't like miso soup, but I LOVE your post, what fun! I am going to light a candle and set up my table every meal, despite being on my own!! How inspiring, well done

    xxxx and cheers to Shabby Chic!


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