Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Year...New Tissues!

I think it’s interesting what we, as individuals, find important. To the quality of our lives. Our priorities, so to speak.

I was the eldest of my mother’s four children. I have a brother and two sisters. Growing up, we often got caught in the restroom without toilet paper. Well, you know, three girls/four females in the house…I think it’s understandable that toilet paper was hugely important/often scarce.

Also, we weren’t allowed to have soft drinks. Well, we did have them. Just not often. They were considered a luxury item and mostly bought for special occasions—like birthdays. Or if there was a super sale on them.

So toilet paper? Soft drinks? Important to moi. I must have lots o’ both o’ these items. And I do mean LOTS. I have inventories of them. Not braggin’. Being open, real and honest.

My third obsession seems to be with Kleenex/tissues. Why? Possibly the fact that I had horrible allergy issues. Asthma. My mother bought whatever was the cheapest. Even if it was ugly and rough. (Guess she thought I wouldn’t notice. Ha.) I’m not going to lie: I need pretty boxes of tissues. P.R.E.T.T.Y. Or what I perceive as pretty! Wink. Wink.

I’ve taken it upon myself to keep TLC and Little Leighton (LL) in pretty tissue boxes, too! I doubt TLC has had to buy her own more than five or six times in the past ten years. Like so many other products I have loved in my life, I’ve had to search and search for a particular box of tissues I’ve bought in the past and then had to, sadly, accept it is no longer available. Anywhere. Makes me nuts.

Oh...cost. Yes. Cost. I work at not spending a small fortune on my addiction to these products. If I can get them for a good, decent, fair price? I’m psyched. Truly. It’s a good day.

Here are two of my latest tissue purchases—designed by none other than Betsey Johnson! (Don’t you positively adore Betsey? Did you watch her as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars? She was precious. Unbelievable. Such an inspiration. Such a love. She’s been in my life for at least 45 years. Maybe more? Not technically in my life. Where I live. In my imaginary wheelhouse.)

Not only are they Betsey, but they’re animal! Wwhhhaaaattttt?????? Yes. Animal. Of course they are—Betsey loves animal prints. Duh.

Wish I could tell y’all where I found these boxes. Target? Hellmart? Brookshire’s? HEB? No clue. I’m all over the place between TLC's home and my casa. I could purchase only four boxes wherever I was—two for me and two for TLC. There were six Betsey tissue boxes on the shelf. One was a design I wasn’t fond of (sorry, BJ) and one was bunged/beaten up. Another rule of mine: I don’t buy damaged merch. Period. Not happening. Pretty and in good shape is important to me. Silly/stupid? Maybe. I won't argue. Of course I realize there are more critical issues in this World than worrying about a dented tissue box. Still...

Maybe you’ll love these and maybe you’ll be able to locate them without spending a lot of time and trouble. I haven't seen them anywhere else since I lucked into finding them a couple of weeks ago. I know this: They’ll jazz up your nightstand or powder room vanity. Jazz them up with style and sass!

Hope Y’all have a WONDERFUL week—wherever in the World you are!

Smooches and Hugs

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Year...New Lattes!

My name is TLC, and I'm addicted to Vanilla Lattes. Y'all know this.

I have a little routine:  after I drop Little Leighton at her preschool, I head straight for Starbucks. I order my "Tall, Decaf, Skinny Vanilla Latte" and enjoy every. last. drop. The Starbucks closest to my house and LL's school is always busy--like, line-wrapped-around-the-building-twice busy. LL goes to school two days a week. I try so hard to only visit Starbucks on those days, but, I'll admit, most weeks I fail. You will probably find me there in line, in my jammies, on most Saturday and/or Sunday mornings.

My Husband loves coffee. He drinks one cup each morning. It's strong--he adds nothing frilly, like flavored creamers. Just plain ol' coffee. That's just not my jam. Over the last six months or so, I've switched to straight decaf. I was getting funky headaches and it seems to help. So, even though he would graciously share a pot of his coffee with me, I always politely decline.

One night, probably 4 or so months ago, we were watching TV and a Nespresso commercial came on. I exclaimed, mostly to myself, "How fancy! And how convenient--lattes at home anytime you want!" I didn't think much more about it, until Christmas morning. One of my gifts from My Husband, LL and Henry was--my very own Nespresso machine!

I was mildly intimidated when I first pulled it out of the box, but it could not be easier! I'm able to store whatever milk I don't "froth and foam" in the fridge. It's a breeze to clean. It makes a delicious and smooth Vanilla Latte. (I add about one teaspoon of the Sugar-Free Vanilla Torani Syrup--I've found it tastes very similar to whatever Starbucks uses.) It has really perked up my mornings! I feel like quite the barista. If you come and visit me, I'll whip one up for you and even spell your name right on a cup. I just adore it! (And I adore my "Latte Mug" I ordered for myself from Pottery Barn using a gift card I received for Christmas. Isn't it cute?)

My motto? "Life begins after coffee."

Cheers and happy weekend, Friends!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year...New Pantry!

Well, technically we have the same old pantry—but we have a new determination to organize it! Throw out expired stuff!!!

Actually, 2015 is going to be a year of “purging” for me and My Sweet Hubby (MSH). In 2014, we spent several weekends over at our Barn—the apartment and the loft—going through boxes and boxes of memories. Stuff. Junk. We've made a small dent in that nightmare. At our age, we are truly understanding and FEELING the cliché:

Less is MORE.

We’re faced with the (probable) inevitability of one day having to move from our Country Casa Heaven (we have almost 34 acres) to a smaller home. We ain’t getting’ any younger. Although our place is not huge—by anyone’s imagination—it’s plenty big and full of work. Work that MSH and I do by ourselves. Work that gets harder and harder with each passing year.

So we’ve made a goal of tackling one room and/or closet and/or drawer every week until we have our home and barn (and life) under better control.

Saturday we started with our pantry! We’ve cleaned it out over the almost fifteen years we’ve been in our home. Many times, in fact. Smallish jobs, though. Nothing major. We began by attempting to agree on a "Plan" and looking at the floor to ceiling shelves—said ceiling being 10-feet tall. We decided it was time to let loose of some serving pieces, dishes, appliances, etc. It was also time to go through all of MSH’s spices! Lordy, he has enough to open either a small store or a restaurant.

Because of the height of the pantry, I couldn’t get a full picture of our challenge. But these are two “Befores.”

BTW: We acknowledged there was going to be no way we could do the entire pantry in one day. Even two! Especially since The Dallas Cowboys were playing Sunday at noon. (We'd rather not discuss that, if you don't mind.) We worked for almost five hours Saturday. Beginning at the top and working our way down. Sunday we worked almost three.

Our criteria categories: Things we still use. Things we never use. Things we probably never needed. And, finally, the things TLC might want—at some point—down the line. (We even assured her we'd pack them up and store them in our Barn Loft until she could retrieve them. Sheesh.)

The next two pictures are a few of the items we removed from the top three shelves. (Not all, don'tchaknow. I wouldn't put y'all through that torture. You're welcome!) The top picture depicts items that were returned to the pantry. Approximately one-sixth of what we pulled out! The next picture contains items that will be donated. I'm proud to say there were only a couple of items that warranted the trash can. The rest will be taken to two organizations we love to help out in our tiny way. One organization is in our small town and the other is in Tracey's (bigger!) city.

(Update: As it turned out, TLC completely insulted her parents by saying—after seeing many pictures of things, via our cellphones, her Mom thought she’d just love to have—“No, thanks. I’m good.”)

Bright and early Sunday morning became “Spice Day!” (See the above picture of our Utility Room and the beginnings of our work in there Sunday.) We took out bottles and bottles—containers and containers—boxes and boxes—of spices and other baking items. We checked each for its expiration date. Our criteria was this: Anything with a date before January 1, 2014, was going to be trashed. Now, before you think we didn’t need to go that crazy, let me promise you most of what we pitched into the trash was more than half used. Or not worth attempting to keep. There were only a few bottles that had never been opened.

We worked on Little Leighton’s Gluten-Free Shelves with love, devotion and a sense of fun! We’re honored to help our precious granddaughter stay healthy. We then worked on a section for rice, flour and pasta.

We actually still lack two—almost three—shelves. Canned goods. Baking items. Sauces/Vinegars/Salad Dressings/Pickles/Olives/Jalapenos/Mayo/Mustards. Cooking oils. We expect that to be done next Sunday and to take another three to four hours.

Then, all that will remain, are the crates and items we keep on the floor of the pantry. (We want this area to be tres attractive/prettier!) This area includes Buddy Boo Bear's dog food bin and other dog treat containers. We confess: BBB looks forward every single afternoon to two ginger snaps. That's all. Two. And they are, cross my heart, the only "people" food he gets. Unless Little Leighton accidentally throws him something every now and then. That's rare. She's learning it's not good for him or her dog, Henry.

Here are a couple of “Afters.” Although they’re not what we hope will be the final outcome, maybe they show you we’re getting close?

Yes, we question how long we can sustain our current determination. And energy. And kindness to each other about our 2015 Purging Project. I’ll keep you posted...

Have a Wonderful Week, Silly Friends Everywhere!

Hey,Clean/OrganizeSomethingAnything, okay?


Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year...New Show!

Well...new to me, at least!

Guess what? My Mother is (almost) always right. She really is...especially when it comes to television shows. I know she's mentioned her love for Parenthood before -- and I had sporadically seen a couple of episodes. However, it wasn't until last Saturday that I sat down and watched the entire first season in one afternoon.

ELC and My Sweet Dad had Little Leighton at their Country Casa for the weekend, and I was sick...again. (Preschool germs are the pits.) My husband and I recently decided that we would sign up for Netflicks...again. We had it several years ago but let our membership expire. Luckily, once we logged in with his email address, it pulled up all of the shows and movies we had previously added to our "list." Parenthood was on there...right next to Friday Night Lights...which I'm also determined to finish (it wasn't because I didn't enjoy the series...I actually loved it but had a baby and became subsequently distracted...or only able to process mindless Real Housewives).

I woke up Saturday morning barely able to move. I somehow managed to drag myself from my bed to our oversized chair in the living room where the Apple TV is located. I promptly began the Pilot and was hooked. Instantly. I am completely torn between binge-watching this entire series in two weeks...or slowly savoring every episode -- only allowing myself one Parenthood per day. (Who am I kidding? That's impossible!) I never want them to be over. My husband says I am quite literally addicted. It's true. He actually enjoys watching this show with me. It's honest. It's real. It's funny. It's heart-wrenching. I want to be a Braverman.

ELC and I spent 30 minutes this afternoon discussing our love of every character. They are completely relatable. We love Crosby. Despite his ways. We love Adam and Kristina and their devotion to their marriage and family. We love Zeek and how proud he is. We want to have a glass of wine with Sarah and hug Amber. We just can't get enough. If you haven't seen an episode, don't hesitate any longer. You need this show in your life. Like, yesterday.

Happy Friday, everybody! I'm literally going to hit the "publish" button now and start Parenthood. When I'm not twirling or having tea parties, you'll find me parked in front of the TV this weekend.