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December 13, 2018

Be Your Own Guest!

In my husband’s upbringing, there was an unspoken rule that the downstairs guest room was off-limits and set apart as a special place, always prepared to receive guests.  This priority of setting aside our best for guests has been carried into our household.  At first, I didn’t take to it all that well.  For as a young bride I wanted the pretty new bedroom furniture for myself!  After a little coaxing and reevaluation, the front guest bedroom of our quaint 1920’s bungalow won out.  Our finest furnishings and linens waited prim and poised, ready to receive guests at a moment’s notice.

Our Guest Room

As we’ve moved, our guest accommodations have remained a priority in each of our homes.  Recently, due to some renovation projects, my husband and I got to be the guests and stay in our downstairs guest room.  I’m not going to lie, it felt kind of special and almost an indulgence!  What I noticed though, is that while the accommodations are quite nice, there’s a few ways I can make the space even more comfortable.

For instance, over time the closet became an extra storage space, leaving little room for guests to hang their clothes or tuck away a suitcase.  The extra furnishings like the antique rocking chair and tall dresser look nice, but take up space that otherwise could accommodate a stand for a suitcase.

The Charming Guest Bath

Then there’s the guest bath, incredibly charming with a claw-foot tub and pedestal sink.  But I noticed it leaves a little to be desired when it comes to having enough space to put toiletries and getting ready in the morning. A small bathroom cabinet and maybe a dressing table with a mirror in the guest room would be a great improvement!

With the holidays upon us, you may find yourself welcoming overnight guests into your home.  I would encourage you, take a trial run and be your own guest!  Sleep in the bed, get ready in the guest bath.  Notice what little improvements you can make that would cause your guest space to be all the more comfortable and accommodating.

October 30, 2018

Curtains of the Sky

I love curtains.  Especially sheer curtains that dress a window without blocking my view to the outside world.  It adds the most elegant touch, even from the outside.

On a recent drive home through Northern New Mexico, I was mesmerized by the sage-green landscapes, spotted with hearty grazing cattle and wild antelope.  Clusters of ridiculously happy little sunflowers waved continuously to us from the edges of the road, as if begging for our attention.  How can you not smile at the sight of all those little displays of sunshine dancing in the breeze?!

And the storms!  You haven’t lived till you’ve witnessed how the sky falls here.  It’s as if the storm clouds suddenly decide it’s time to share, refreshing the desert terrain below.  They pick a defined strip of land and gracefully descend, flowing like sheer curtains from dramatic valances of thunderclouds.

To the East, rainbows peeked in and out of distant clouds, and flashes of lightening competed for attention in all directions.  If you happen to be heading straight into one of those curtains, a terrifying experience awaits as heavy sheets of blinding rain envelope you.  It takes only a few minutes before you emerge on the other side into a shockingly calm, bright, and colorful new realm.

My great-aunt says it best…the storms here have personality.  They are welcomed, longed for, and often rejoiced in, painting for us the most gorgeous, ever-changing vistas.

-Mandy, Vista Encantada Realtors Marketing Director

September 13, 2018

Morning Walk and the Great Divide

Still kind of drowsy with eyes closed, I can feel the pull of the sun as it rises up from behind our beautiful Sandia Mountain –  drawing me up out of bed with it as it gains momentum getting higher in our big pink sky.   Great things await!  Simple things.

Beep beep beep.   The coffee is done.   (Auto timed coffee makers one of the best inventions ever!).

A hummingbird greets me on the patio hovering in that pink light, wanting some breakfast, like he too thinks it is the best meal of the day.

Awake now I set off for my morning walk in the cool air.  It is soft and sweet.   This is a time for the mind to be free, not yet cluttered with the debris of the day to come and able to absorb the simple beauty that presents itself daily here, if you take time to look or your mind has space to let it in.

John B. Robert Dam

The path behind my house runs alongside Bear Canyon arroyo leading down to Arroyo del Oso Golf course or uphill to the John B. Robert Dam.    I always go up hill first to get the hard part over early.    The jing jing of a bike bell lets me know a bike is coming up behind me.   “Morning!” we say.    Each person I pass has a greeting.   Through the rest of the day rarely do I get such greetings.   Maybe we are not yet overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the day and still willing to offer common grace.

Happy little sunflowers

Along the way the sunflowers growing in the arroyo smile into the sun.   I see wild purple Morning Glory flowers, yellow and white blooms from wild gourds and I spy a tiny silhouette of a ballerina painted on a cinder block wall, a hidden treasure whose story makes me wonder.    Simple things.   Simple beauties.   Simple gifts.

Morning Glories

Eventually I arrive at my turn around spot.   Standing on top of John B. Robert Dam (also seen in Terminator Salvation movie!) , the great cement divide between city to the west and open space ending in that big blue mountain to the east, with one foot in each world,  I can see forever here – Mount Taylor, the Jemez, the day ahead.

I revel in the simple beauty of our Albuquerque.

By Kurstin Johnson