Saturday, January 29, 2011

J'adore OPI

If I can't be a country western singer when I grow up, I want to pick the names for OPI Nail Polish. Wouldn't that be a blast?

I'm slightly obsessed with nail polish. I have oodles of bottles in one of my bathroom drawers. I organize them by color. Yep. I do! To me, nail polish has the ability to transform an outfit.

Christmas stockings are a big deal in our family. ELC is super creative. She usually has "themes." She starts hunting months before the big day for the perfect little goodies. The stockings are my favorite part of the gift exchange. No matter what the theme, I ALWAYS get nail polish – fun and festive shades to add to my collection. ELC collects diet books. I collect nail polish.

I thought I would share a few of my favorites. ELC taught me never to judge a book by its cover. Turns out, I am judgmental. I pick my bottles of Pinot Grigio solely based on whether or not they have a cute, pretty, or funny label. And nine times out of ten, I pick my polish by whether or not it has a sassy or sweet name (that... and whether or not it has glitter... I always gravitate towards the glittery polish).


image via TLC's snazzy new camera from her hubby

1. I'm Not Really a Waitress

The quintessential red. This is definitely my go-to shade. It's perfection in a little glass bottle. And the name is a riot. Wouldn't you love to know its background and how it got its moniker? It has just the right amount of glittery shine. Great for "everyday" wear.

2. You Don't Know Jacques!

This is a classic taupe-y grey (the "chic" way of spelling gray!). And the name cracks me up. A little risqué, no? This is from their France collection. It's a great shade for the fall and winter. A perfect way to accessorize a plum, chocolate brown or emerald green outfit.

3. Jade Is the New Black

This little beauty made its way into my stocking this year. I'm loving it! It's from the Hong Kong Collection. For those that watched the Golden Globes this year, did you notice all of the emerald dresses? Apparently it really IS the new black. Love. Love. Love.

4. Bubble Bath

My FAVORITE creamy white. Best shade for manicures. Accentuates any bling you might be wearing on that ring finger! I'm not generally a bubble bath-er (TMI?), but I love the idea of them. Just relaxing and soaking away all of that yucky stress. Marvelous!

5. Vodka & Caviar

DELISH! Great holiday red. This girl loves her some vodka. There's the most fabulous Italian restaurant in Austin called North (Thanks, Aunt Trisha, for introducing us to this absolutely YUMMO place!). They concoct these ah-MAZING cocktails made with Belvedere, rosemary, club soda, and fresh raspberries. O. M. GOSH. But I digress. Not so much a fan of caviar, but doesn't it just scream fancy? We all know fancy equals fabulous, right?

I could go on and on and on about OPI and their ingenuity. What are some of your favorite shades? Please do tell! I'm always looking to add to my collection.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lady Bird Would Be Proud!

Last Saturday, my husband and I went down to our gate and started our “trash pick up.” We’ve lived in the country for over ten years and we do this at least once a year—usually twice. We don’t just do the area in front of our fence—we work on both sides of the highway and go up to a bridge in either direction. We hope that, as people drive by, we are inspiring them to go home and do the same.

 I asked him how much area we cover. Here is his explanation:

“The length of our place at the highway is approximately 850 feet. So 1700 feet per each side or 3400 feet or 1133 yards long or .64 of a mile. But if you calculate area, I figure the width of each side is 25 feet. So it would be 85,000 square feet or 1.9 acres covered.”

Hmmm. Okay. I don’t know what the heck he said or if he’s even close to a good guess. I’ll just sum it up: we cover a lot of area we don’t have to and it takes us anywhere between one to two hours to complete our task.

It never ceases to amaze us at how “trashy” people can be. PLEASE don’t get me wrong: We know we are not perfect. However, we do make every attempt to put trash where it belongs. It doesn’t belong on our beautiful roads and highways.

Here’s our process: We get a 45-gallon Hefty bag and we head out on our little ATV. We take turns driving while the other gets in and out. It involves semi-intense walking (you have to watch out for deep, hidden holes) and lots of bending. We wear gloves, of course, and stay very cautious—making sure we don’t cut our hands. In ten years we've picked up a lot of interesting stuff.

Here’s a list of what we picked up last Saturday:

Car “parts”—several pieces of a fender and/or bumper, a reflector light, and three pieces of a tire; LOTS o’ styrofoam container pieces (I think those scientists are right: styrofoam probably doesn’t ever totally disintegrate—YIKES); several sacks, cups, straws and wrappers from various fast food places; LOTS o’ pieces of random paper products; too many beer cans—in all forms: old ones that had probably been there since our last trash pickup—new ones that were probably thrown out the night before; five (mostly) empty bottles of beer; and two large feed sacks.

Here are our favorite items (we always have at least one!) this particular pick up day:

A “mixed cd” that said: “So-and-So’s (I won’t put the actual names) Love Songs.” It was all alone—no other trash around it. Looked like someone had tried to break it before they tossed it. We speculated “So and So” might not be together any more.

And, last, but not least, a pair of tidy-whities. Let's spend no time pondering this, okay?

Many of us Baby Boomers grew up with a HUGE NO LITTERING campaign. “Don’t be a litterbug.” What happened to that? A new campaign started many years ago called “Don’t Mess with Texas.” It’s a sad day when you see someone throw trash at one of those signs. You can actually “adopt” sections of roads and highways in Texas to keep clean (I think other states have caught on to this simply fabulous idea).

If every single one of us picked up trash in the area around our homes—even those of us who live in the country—wouldn’t that be AWESOME? A valuable statement that we care. I am making a challenge to everyone today: DON’T BE A LITTERBUG. It would disappoint Lady Bird. (If you don’t know who Lady Bird is, Google her! She was an important, gracious woman in our country's history who truly disliked trash “apathy.”)

EOL. (End of Lecture!)

And ttfn!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Determined . . . or delusional?

It takes me about 17 minutes to get from my home in the country to the town where we work and do our necessaries—grocery shopping, doctor appointments, cleaners, etc. There are homes along the way—mostly on ranches—and lots of cows and horses. After over ten years of this mostly daily drive, I never tire of the scenery, as we live on the edge of the Texas Hill Country.

Last week, on a routine errand trip, I did a double-take! I saw a cow craning her neck so far through a fence I thought for sure she’d need a cow chiropractor before it was all over. She was in a pasture with at least twenty other cows—a big pasture—full of hay, grass and lots of vegetation cows and bulls must love to eat. Yet nothing was going to stop this cowgal from reaching what she wanted on the other side of that fence. Although I could see what she was doing, I couldn’t tell, exactly, what was so tempting. I don’t know if it was something extra green. Or chocolate. I only know she wanted it—bad.

I just had to giggle. I realized I would probably be a cow like that—hell-bent on finding the exceptionally yummy stuff. I cannot deny I have a severe sweet tooth. I want sugar—every day. And lots of it. But seeing that cow so determined to get whatever that was made me think about some of the goals I’ve hoped to reach in my 57 years.

I was determined to meet Paul McCartney. I was ten years old when The Beatles came to America. That first Ed Sullivan show was the most exciting night of my life—to that point. I was so immediately hooked, I can’t imagine my addiction to sugar ever having been as strong as that early addiction to The Fab Four. I wanted every album they made, every teen magazine they were featured in, and to see them on every television show and any and all movies they graced with their presence. Of course I dreamed of going to one of their concerts (I assure you, though, I would NOT have screamed, cried, or made a silly fool of myself). Alas, that never happened. I’m not sure I’m over that.  By the time I was fourteen, I thought I might be able to marry Paul—if only I could meet him. I suppose you can guess that probably didn't happen. Sigh.

I tried two colleges in two semesters after graduating from high school. Neither went well. I went to work full-time, after the second failure, and knew, in less than a year, that—surprise!—college really was for me! Real life and work is TOUGH. I enrolled in a small Texas state university in the Fall of 1973 and fell in love. With everyone and everything. I had no car after my first semester and never had any money. But I had determination, good and generous friends, kind professors, and patient and caring bosses. I graduated with a BBA in August of 1976.

After surviving breast cancer at the age of 40, a modified radical mastectomy and chemo, I became determined to get a graduate degree. I earned a Master’s of Education in Guidance and Counseling in May of 2000. Out of 48 graduate hours—or 16 courses, none on-line--I made two Bs. The rest were As. A far cry better than my grades as an undergrad! I worked ten years at a third “career”—I’m counting TLC as my second and permanently never-ending career—and have now mostly retired.


My latest determination? What else? To lose weight. Duh. You thought I might actually be unique or, more accurately, realistic? 35 pounds—minimum. By June. Just in time for our 40th High School Reunion. I’m very worried my resolve isn’t as strong as it used to be. I may need to order my next-to-the-last diet book.

Monday, January 24, 2011

An Ode to Bathing Suits

Roses are red.
Hearts are pink.
I love cupcakes.
Bathing suits STINK.

This obviously isn't an "ode." That sounds entirely too endearing. I'm anything but endeared to bathing suits. First, the name itself is completely misleading. What I wouldn't give to wear a jacket and long pants. Instead, we're stuck with tiny scraps of spandex. I mean, seriously? Who are these designers kidding?

I have to squeeze myself into a bathing suit in a little less than three months. And wear it. In front of people. Other than my husband or ELC. I've been married for almost a year now. Not only have I gained a wonderful husband, but I've also gained a few new friends in the way of EXTRA POUNDAGE (or “fluff,” as I like to call it). Apparently I think I can eat as much as he does. That's obviously his trick to staying so trim. In my dreams. I've learned that "newlywed" is synonymous with "newchunkythighs." I prefer to think of it as happy fat, though, based on the fact that we're still in that honeymoon phase and basking in those wedded bliss feelings (yep... that's my logic). It's awesome. Just not for my bottom half. UGH.

I started running last Tuesday (and by “running” I mean shuffling along at a snail’s pace and frequently hunching over while clutching my side as I gasp for air). I've run a total of three days (Tuesday, Wednesday and tonight – we had a cold front come in last Thursday and I’m no martyr). While I'm proud of my initial dedication (if you knew anything about my exercise habits, you'd know this is may-jor dedication), I currently can't bend down to get the Blue Bell out of our freezer (we have one of those fridges with the freezer on the bottom) without wincing in pain. It's horrible. Awful. Tragic. And this is all in the name of attempting to look good in those evil scraps of spandex on the beach. But, alas! Here I go!

(I just wish those neighborhood kiddos wouldn’t zoom by me on their fancy electric scooters. I might just have to accidentally knock one off, hop on the dang thing, and take my chunky thighs home the easy way.)

OR... I could just invest in a few fabulous cover-ups. What do you think?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hand-Me-Downs

I'm the oldest of four kids and didn’t have any close-by cousins. Growing up, I didn’t personally receive a lot of hand-me-downs. Somehow I instinctively knew, even at a young age, that was probably a very good thing!

Life has a way of teaching us lessons we need to learn—and they can come at any time. I became the person receiving hand-me-downs when my daughter landed in high school. Not so much her clothes or shoes. (TLC has always weighed significantly less than me and is a little bit taller. I also have much bigger feet. Actually, I gained a shoe size that never shrunk back to normal while pregnant with her. Thank you, Doll.) But I do still own and wear a Ralph Lauren jean jacket I bought for her when she was in the 8th grade. That would make it over 14 years old. I inherited it when she was a junior. It’s one of my favorite go-to “uniforms.” Eleven years later, I can’t imagine my wardrobe without it. It’s gotten pretty frayed over time, which I think would be “cool” for someone younger. It seems like I’m too old and too “fluffy” to wear anything frayed, torn or shabby. However, for my devotion to this jacket, I’ll just accept that I’m probably being judged as trying to look younger than I am. Oh, well. Such is life.

Here are some of the other things I have inherited from TLC to date: a couple of cell phones; jewelry; household trinkets; kitchen paraphernalia; picture frames; artwork—in many forms; books; pillows; CDs and DVDs; a vehicle and a cat.  Yep.  A cat.

Let me go into a little detail about a few of these things:

The cell phones. Who but a Mom would be willing to take an older model cell phone so their child could have the newest/latest/greatest model? My husband laughed at me the first time I did this. I just smiled. I'll never even know how to work the old hand-me-down cell phones, so, in the end, what difference does it really make what I have, as long as I do have one?

The jewelry. Funny thing about those many pairs of earrings I’ve been given by TLC—I am fairly certain I paid for most of them. I’m not going to lie: I LOVE it when she sees me with one of her old pairs on and hints she’d like them back. Uh, nope. Too bad, so sad.

The vehicle: When TLC graduated from college and moved to the Big City for her first “Crud, I’m an adult—now I have to (or at least try to) pay for everything!” job, she figured out how she could afford a new car. The problem was what to do with her perfectly good Jeep. Enter Mom—to the rescue. I was driving a truck at the time. In Texas, one of the easiest vehicles to sell is a truck. In fact, my husband put a For Sale sign on mine one morning at 8:00 and it was sold by 9:00. I drove the Jeep for over a year. Loved it, actually, almost as much as TLC loved her new little car. But, alas, living in the country, we once again needed a truck. I said au revoir to my hand-me-down Jeep.

The cat: The most recent hand-me-down I’ve received from TLC is a cat named Mortimer. Morty had been living with her hubby until they bought a house and moved in together. TLC soon discovered that this cat was growing increasingly bored with each passing day. When they’d get home from work, Morty, who had apparently slept all afternoon, would come alive and drive them bananas. He was also beginning to tear up furniture. He was what some might call “certifiable.” We had two cats when we moved to the country, but one unexpectedly passed away five years ago, so our Cobbler Kitty needed a new companion. I was actually the one who suggested TLC “loan” us Morty. I sincerely believed he would be happy with us. TLC was thrilled and Morty adjusted in less than a month. He is no longer bonkers—just a tad nutty. We adore him. He seems to really like us. TLC and her hubby get to see him when they come for a visit. Everyone wins!

image via TLC
the Lion King
or
where's Morty Waldo

When I look back on TLC’s hand-me-downs, Morty is definitely the VERY BEST! However, I have lovingly, but firmly, informed TLC this won’t work with any future children. LOL.

ta-ta for now . . .

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

“Excuse me… But I’m going to have to get your name.”

Growing up, ELC taught me many important life lessons:

  1. A Southern lady never leaves her house without a little lipstick (I didn’t say I’ve always followed them.  I heart my simple Chap Stick).
  2. Always write thank you notes.
  3. Carry toothpicks and a mirror in your purse at all times (Ladies, of course, should never use a toothpick in public.  Right, ELC?).
  4. Vita/e Hairspray, though cheap, gets the job done every single time.
  5. Hot rollers.  Hot rollers.  Hot rollers.
  6. Never drive more than 5 mph over the speed limit (I’m still working on this one).
  7. The phrase, “Bless your/her/his heart,” works in so many different contexts.
  8. Always ask for the “cash option” when you purchase your lottery ticket.
  9. As ELC’s Nana taught her, “Pretty is as pretty does.”  
  10. And, perhaps, one of the most important things she’s taught me:  Designing Women will forever be the most wonderful show (yes… yes… even beating Housewives).
There was an episode in Season Four where Julia and Suzanne head to Tokyo to visit their mother and pick up a car Suzanne purchased at a discount (though she never did get the car because it ended up falling off the freighter into the ocean).  During their “Big Adventure,” they encountered several instances of extremely poor customer service.  Each time Julia would end the conversation with, “Excuse me… But I’m going to have to get your name.”  Well, I’ve started creating my own personal “list” of places I will probably no longer frequent because of unfortunate incidents.  Apparently quality customer service has flown out the window.

About a month ago, the hubs wanted chili one night.  So, we headed out to the closest restaurant where chili is a featured menu item.  Once there, we waited fifteen minutes for a waitress.  Mind you, there were only about 10 other patrons at the restaurant that Tuesday night.  When we were finally able to place our order, the waitress literally had no clue they served chili (and, if I remember correctly, that is what that particular restaurant is named after).  I then asked for a half order of nachos (that also confused her – I won’t even go into that part of the story).  Twenty-five minutes later, when our food was delivered, it was cold and completely wrong.  How in the world do you mess up chili and nachos?  Well, they did.  They ended up bringing us new dishes. Always a scary proposition, right? When the manager set the chili in front of my husband, she snottily stated, “Here.  This is 242 degrees.  It should be hot enough for you now.”  I sat there, mouth agape, stunned at her audacity. 

We are NOT the type of people to ever complain about our food or lack of good service.  We just stoically suck it up--98% of the time, anyway.  I was humiliated that night, thinking they must have judged us to be customers who complain for a free meal--or dessert.  We won't go back to that location (I truly try not to judge an entire chain of restaurants based solely on the bad service of one of their franchises.).  This place is now FIRST on my new "list."  I made sure to let the hubs know about my “list” that night.  After all, isn’t marriage about moral support?  Regardless of whether or not he thinks I’m a little fruitcake (For those Designing Women fans, do you remember Suzanne always calling Bernice “a little fruitcake?” LOL.).

Next on my list a couple of days later:  The dry cleaners that ruined a brand new comforter and one of my jackets.  Though the rust stains on the comforter and the missing chain on the jacket were quite obvious, they chose not to tell me.  Seriously?  As if I wouldn’t notice?   I sweetly informed Hubby, “We are not going back there.  We’ll have to find another dry cleaner.”

The last business currently on my “list” is the gas station near our house.  A super mean clerk yelled at me as I was trying to buy my Mega Millions lottery ticket there two weeks ago.  I literally walked in with only two dollars and my car keys (I know he saw that, too!).  I charmingly said, “I would like a Quick Pick for the Mega Millions tonight – cash option with the megaplier." You've taught me well, ELC.  He walked over to his little machine, turned around and angrily shouted, “How many do you want?”  I was so caught off guard and confused I started stumbling, “I’m… I’m… I’m… not sure what you mean.”  He proceeded to yell at me, in front of six other customers waiting in line to purchase their chance at winning the $300+ million that night.  “TEN???  TWENTY???”  Quickly I answered, “ONE.  One quick pick.”  I knew I wouldn't be winning that night, because that clerk was tres rude.  And rudeness equals no winning lottery ticket. Doesn't it, really?  When I pulled into our garage, there was my hubby.  I, again, sweetly informed him: “You're going to have to find a new gas station.  We're NOT going back to that store again.”  He grinned and said, “How many more places do you plan to add to your list?” 

I might just start taking down names, too.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

An Explanation and Sleeping Glasses

I feel as though I should defend myself and my Makeup Shirt.

Background: As a toddler, I was routinely taken to a barber shop, with my siblings, for haircuts, but I rebelled against that by early elementary school. It didn’t seem right—to go where my brother went. (How times have changed. My husband has gone to my Beauty Shop for about 24 years!) In the late 60s and early 70s, when I was in junior high and high school, I had long, straight hair—no bangs—and literally got a professional trim about once a year. My mom would cut my hair or sometimes I could talk a friend or a friend’s older sister into giving me a few snips to eliminate dead ends. We didn’t even discuss going to beauty shops--that’s what our moms did. We certainly didn’t get manicures and pedicures—like 4-year-olds do now. In fact, I had my first professional pedicure when I was 47 years old. It was one of the most fabulous experiences I had ever had. (I will point out that, ten years later, I have had my share of not-so-great pedis—just not enough to make me even consider ending this “treat.”)  

Up until my 47th year, I mostly hid my feet—even in the summer. I rarely wore sandals—choosing tennis shoes, instead. I don’t know when I started noticing that other women’s toes were not much prettier than mine, but TLC was 17 when she talked my hubby into getting both of us a “Spa Package” at a local beauty salon for MY birthday. She convinced him it would be more fun for me if she was there, too. She’s good at that—becoming part of someone’s “gift.” It’s one of her best talents.

Neither of us realized we wouldn’t be together that day. From the time we arrived until four hours later, I only saw her once—in passing and for about twenty seconds. It wasn’t what we expected, but it was still a fun day and the beginning of my addiction to professional pedicures. The pedicure was, by far, my most favorite of the four services we enjoyed that day. From that moment on, I’ve made it a point to have a pedi every 3 to 4 weeks from the first of March through the end of October. Late Fall is when I go back to tennies and shoes that totally cover my feet!

Oops--back to Makeup Shirts: In junior high and high school, I would NOT use hairspray. I had an extreme aversion to it. I honestly can’t explain it. I don’t remember being terrorized by anyone wielding a can of hairspray. In fact, I probably didn’t use three cans of hairspray from my high school drill team years (sometimes it was actually required by our Director) until I was about 36. From my early 20s to mid-30s, I always had a curly perm. I did discover that a light spritz of hairspray sometimes helped keep those curls fixed just right. Once I started depending less on perms and more on hairstyles using my hot rollers, I needed literally gallons of hair spray. But I despised—immensely—getting it on my clothes and all over my bathroom. That’s when I came up with my first official “Makeup Shirt.” My shirts have never been as “pretty” as TLC’s latest design. I don’t decorate mine. I’m sure—now that you’ve seen how creative I am—you are shocked.

Another possible odd thing I’ll admit I do is sleep in old eyeglasses. Remember when the bigger the glasses were the better? Sally Jesse Raphael’s red ones? Had ‘em. I had several HUGE (I cannot emphasize this word enough) glasses from about 1980 until about 1998. It was so hard for me to adjust to the smaller frames. Now I positively cringe when I see pictures of myself in those uber-big glasses, of which I had many different styles and colors.

Literally the day after I turned 43, I couldn’t read a newspaper or a book anymore without holding it out at least three feet from my face. I was in shock, but quickly accepted that I had to get bifocals. That wasn’t going to be too difficult—since all of my glasses had plenty of room for that second layer of correction. I’ve always loved reading in bed at night (which I know you’re not advised by experts to do—especially if you have insomnia)—but, like many bed-readers, I often fall asleep with my glasses on. Once I gave in to style and smaller frames, my big ol’ glasses were perfect to fall asleep in. The best part was that it wouldn’t ever matter if they got a little bent up.

I went on a Girls Only Christmas Shopping Trip to Dallas a few years ago with three dear friends. We checked into a hotel near North Park Mall, getting two rooms that connected. We drew names to see who would sleep in what room. That night, after a lovely dinner at P. F. Chang’s, we returned to our rooms and started getting ready for bed. It never occurred to me that they hadn’t seen me with my big Sleeping Glasses. Actually, I had known two of them for many years and they had often seen these particular frames—just not in a long time. I didn’t understand the giggles, at first, as I went into the room where everyone was chatting, sporting my Sleeping Glasses and Makeup Shirt (I also wear my Makeup Shirt when I wash my face at night—so I won’t get water all over my jammies). I think they thought I was kidding. They realized I wasn’t when they could see how embarrassed I was. But they are my friends and, I’m certain, catalogued and accepted it as one of my (many) quirks.

We all have our favorite “tricks” for time-saving and comfort, don’t we? That might be enough of mine to share—at least for now—lest y’all think I’m more than a little eccentric. Thank the Lord eccentricity is a perk of older age.

ttfn . . .

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Makeup Shirt

Growing up, I remember watching ELC getting ready in the morning… for the day… for church… for bridge.  It’s funny how many of her habits I have picked up.  We love our hairspray.  Vita/e, to be exact.  Unfortunately, that hairspray gets everywhere.  On everything.  It completely “gunks up” our bathrooms and clothes.  I know we’re not the only Southern women addicted to our hairspray and suffering from chronic stickiness.  That’s why this post is here to save the day! 

We’ve all heard the quote, “The higher the hair, the closer to God.”  Well, it takes a lot of Vita/e to get our hair high.  So, ELC came up with two solutions to remedy the gunky hairspray problem:

  1. The Makeup Shirt.
  2. Plastic dry cleaners' bags.
I’m not sure where Mom came up with the idea for the Makeup Shirt (though I think she’ll be sharing that story soon).  For as long as I can remember, she’s always worn it when she puts her makeup on and rolls her hair.  When Dad tires of one of his standard oxford shirts (chambray blue or white), ELC will take one, cut the sleeves off, and VOILA!  A Makeup Shirt is born!

When I started wearing makeup, ELC created a Makeup Shirt for me.  While the primary function is to keep hairspray off of our clothes, we do call them Makeup Shirts and not “Clothes Shirts” or “Hairspray Shirts.”  Go figure.  However, it will also keep makeup – blush, powder, and eyeshadow – off whatever you have on.  Bonus!  Double-duty.  Who couldn’t appreciate that?

Here are a few pictures of my “current” Makeup Shirt.  ELC made this one for me about 4 years ago.  She wants me to make sure y'all know she realizes she's not that artistic or crafty.  We have no plans to sell these on Etsy any time soon.  My hubby cracks up every time he sees me wearing this.  Perhaps it’s the quotes in laundry marker.  Or the frayed edges.

The shirt:


Close-up shots of the front:

TLC’s Fabulous Makeup Shirt!

Because… sticky hairspray on your clothes is YUCKY…
and she wants to be just like her Mom!

The back:

Thanks, Dad!!! (for the shirt!)
It’s not easy to be Glamorous!
“Pretty is as pretty does.”  -- Nana

(Now I wish I would have ironed this shirt before I posted pictures.  LOL.  I am my mother's daughter.  We even iron our pillowcases.  That's a whole other post, though.)

And, finally, what to do with the plastic bags that come with your dry cleaning:  Before you begin spraying, place a couple of bags on top of your counters.  These can be easily folded up and kept in a drawer or under your sink when not in use.  I give you my word – the bags will definitely help keep your bathroom countertops less icky.  Which makes for easy cleaning.  Which means more time for Twilight or Housewives or Etsy shopping.  Girl Scouts’ honor.  I was one, so I can give you that “honor.”  Okay.  Okay.  I only made it through Brownies.

You will need to get new plastic bags every month or so.  And the Makeup Shirts can be washed over and over again with your towels.  You’ll only need a new one when the already worn out shirt finally shreds.

Happy hairspraying!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Guilty Pleasure: The Real Housewives

There.  I said it.  My name is TLC, and I’m addicted to The Real Housewives on Bravo. 

I’ve always been fond of reality TV.  Though, I don’t think it became a true addiction until a couple of years ago when we were on a mini-winter vacay up north with friends.  One evening, after a hard day of hitting the slopes (okay… okay… sitting in the cozy bar reading InStyle magazine and sipping on Diet Coke mixed with Malibu – it didn’t take me too long to realize it hurts when you fall down while skiing), my girl friend and I started watching The Real Housewives of the O.C. while the men prepared dinner (isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?).  We were literally glued to that show and all its trashiness.  Drunk Gretchen and Tamra’s son frolicking around the pool.  Vicki’s empty-love-tank relationship with her hubby, Don.  Lynne.  I don’t know what else to say about Lynne.  Perhaps that’s enough.  It sucked me in.  Where had this show been all of my life? 

When we got back to Texas, I started filling up my entire DVR with all the previous seasons of reality TV at its finest (I wasn’t married then… now I apparently have to share the DVR with something called the Southwest Outdoors Report).  And, it gets better – there are Housewives shows from every region of the country!  Yippee!  How can you ever get tired of this when you have ATL, NJ, NY, and Beverly Hills? Each city has its own drama.  Its own quirks.  ELC basically refuses to watch these shows… Something about the lack of morals and values.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  I’m not in it for the morals and values.

So, at Casa de C, this is my evening routine 4 out of 7 nights a week:

  1. Head home from a long day at work.
  2. Yell at all of the crazy Dallas drivers (I'm, of course, not one of them.  I do refrain from obscene gestures – I know ELC is so proud).
  3. Walk in the door.
  4. Change into my uniform (more about this below!).
  5. Assume the position in my giant, cozy, over-sized chair.
  6. Turn on the TV.
  7. Watch an episode until Hubby gets home from work.
Now, let me give you a little more info on my uniform (aka:  my comfy pants).  I’m obsessed with these pants.  They’re true brilliance in my book.  They're super large, grey, stretchy yoga pants from NY & Co.  I wear them daily, but not, of course, to do yoga.  How silly.  My husband didn’t even realize I owned no less than twenty pairs of jeans until a couple of years ago, since I also run errands in these.  The post office.  The grocery store.  The cleaners.  Hobby Lobby.  They have the uncanny ability of hiding the lumpy bits in my thighs.  I wish I owned 6 more pairs.  One for every last day of the week.  I don’t, and now NY & Co. no longer carries them.  Sigh.

Okay. I have to be honest:  I don’t just watch the Housewives.  No.  If only.  There are, in fact, others.  I’ve been known to watch:  Tori & Dean.  Bethenny Getting Married.  Sarah Palin’s Alaska (though I do consider this educational – it’s a travel show, after all).  Teen Mom (Holy guacamole.  Have you seen this train wreck?).  My addiction goes so far as to watching 6 episodes in a row of Dog the Bounty Hunter one Saturday (I can’t believe I just admitted that).  It’s terrible.  I should be ashamed.  Yet, evidently, I’m not.  I have to believe I’ve learned something from these shows.  Maybe how to filet a salmon – thanks, Sarah!  Oh well.  Television is about entertainment, right?  Well, I’m completely and totally entertained.  AND, now, completely and totally obsessed with getting my own reality show.  Seriously.  LOL.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Next-to-the-Last Diet Book . . .

So, TLC suggested I talk about my collection of diet books. But when I think of a “collection,” I think of things that are in, basically, the same general area. I thought it could be fun to share some of the titles of the books I have “collected.” (There is no telling how many I’ve given away, loaned out or sold in garage sales!) Then I realized I’d have to go search for all of them. They are not in the same place like a real “collection.” Some are in my big bookshelf in our Great Room. Some in a basket by my nightstand. Some in shelves over at our Barn apartment. Many are packed up in boxes in the loft of our Barn.  I quickly nixed this idea—way too much possible exercise.

Suffice it to say I wish I had even just half of the money back I’ve spent on these books. And magazines that had articles about dieting. I could probably have made a significant bailout loan to the government. Or, at the very least, had some money for the trips I’ve never made to Italy, Scotland or Australia. Those dreams are coming true for the authors of all of those books I’ve helped support.

I easily remember the first diet book I bought. I waited for it to come out in paperback. It was Dr. Atkin’s Diet Revolution. I was 20ish. I followed that book to the “t.” Except—I never added the fruits and veggies I was to eventually add. I was losing so much weight I didn’t want to slow it down by adding nutritional food. That great decision was more than likely the beginning of my stomach and metabolism issues and my addiction to diet books.

I’ll just blame Oprah, too. Why not? I honestly believed in her book—Make the Connection—with Bob Greene. In fact, I saw it recently when I was dusting my bookshelves. It is an excellent resource. Lots of good, sound principles. I should have stopped there. But, in the past two years, I’ve bought, among others, books about insulin-resistance and the glycolic index; both of Jillian and Bob’s (you know—the trainers on The Biggest Loser?—which, thanks to TLC, I am also addicted to) books, and, my most recent purchase, The Yo-Yo Diet Syndrome by Doreen Virtue. All, may I say, are EXCELLENT books.

(It suddenly occurs to me that the name “Bob” is often attached to thin people. I’m sitting here thinking of all the “Bobs” I know—famous and friends and acquaintances. I can’t think of even one chubby Bob. That’s it. I’m changing my name. And writing a book about it!)

When TLC was a toddler, I took her to a fun “grandmother” babysitter once or twice a week. Mrs. C had many children and grandchildren, but kept other kids, too, at her clean, warm, comfy house. She had a grandson that was a pistol. He was about TLC’s age and, like TLC, a tiny bit spoiled. One afternoon, as I was picking TLC up, he was throwing a screamin’ trantrum fit. His Dad, Mrs. C’s son-in-law, who was also there to retrieve his child, looked at him and said, firmly: “This is the next-to-the-last time I’m going to tell you to stop that.” When I looked confused, he explained he had discovered that no one—not his wife, mother, mother-in-law or several sisters-in-law—ever meant it when they said to their kids: “This is the last time I’m telling you to stop that.” He believed that was completely ridiculous. That these women all needed to admit there was never going to be a “last time” for any of those kids. He was clearly proud to be the only HONEST adult.

So here is what I’ve told my hubby and TLC for the past 24 years: “This is the next-to-the-last diet book I’m buying.” Works for me. And, sadly, it seems to be the truth.

(If anyone out there has read a new diet book you liked, please let me know asap!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Howdy!

Welcome to our new blog!

How did we choose our name? We are a mother-daughter team with the same middle name – Leighton. And, duh, we LOVE to laugh out loud.

ELC (Mom) is a 57-year-old wife, mother, stepmother, Grammy, sister, aunt, friend, and mostly-retired therapist who collects diet books (each time a new box from Amazon arrives, she swears that book will be the next-to-the-last one purchased) and never leaves her house without a little lipstick and her earrings. One of her dreams is to sing the National Anthem at a big sporting event someday (only her family knows this – and she isn’t known for singing – but she’s been practicing periodically – one night her hubby even told her she was “getting better”).

TLC (Daughter) is a 27-year-old Etsy-addicted, Twilight-loving, newlywed who works in the financial industry but has a Fashion Merchandising degree. TLC drives ELC bonkers because she’s constantly reaching for plain ol’ Chap Stick instead of a little “Apple Cordial” by Estee Lauder (ELC swears it just “brightens your face!”). TLC’s dream is to be a country western singer when she grows up (this comment always causes TLC's hubby to burst into a smirk each time she tells him this – which usually occurs while she’s wistfully watching an episode of Glee or American Idol).

ELC lives in a small country town southwest of Fort Worth – TLC in a big suburb of Dallas.

We’ve been emailing each other with words of encouragement for almost 6 years, once TLC graduated from college and moved to the Big City. We believe we’re honest, hopeful, sometimes sweet, often sassy, and always candid. We love to learn – from each other, from family and friends, from what we read, what we listen to on the radio and television, and what we find on the Web. Like everyone, we’re just trying to figure this challenging world out – on our own and with each other. We hope, along the way, to make you have a giggle or two!

We’ll try to post at least three times a week. Sometimes more, perhaps. Of course, life has a way of interfering with the best laid plans. We’re very excited about this new adventure and have already started planning fun posts we are anxious to share.

Please join us – whenever you can – for laughter, discovery, communication, transformation, clarification, fashion, food, style, helpful tips about how to be chubby but happy, and maybe some wisdom – with a touch of silliness!

ttfn! (ta-ta for now, of course – and who doesn’t adore Tigger?)