Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Happies!

We've done it again, friends! We've made it through another week! This one seems like it flew by, doesn't it? Well, I'm slogging along this weekend, but I certainly hope that you are free as birds. Even if you aren't I certainly hope that this odd list of funs, pretties, happies, feel-goods and what-nots helps usher you all in to quite the pleasant pair of days! Heeere's this list!

*I live in Florida. So this...isn't a thing for us, but it's still cool to see!! Come hurricane season, I'll show you a totally different kind of time-lapse (it will mostly involve a hurricane party but that's not the point).

*Stuff I didn't know I wanted for camping. There are at least two dozen that I really really dig! The sheep tent being one of them...

*Here's a little "it's-almost-halfway to Spring" punch of colour!

*Looking for something to read to make you laugh and/or seriously devour a book in an afternoon? Take your pick (I've read 5 of the 13 and they do. not. disappoint.)!

*The American evolution of the "Perfect Female Body" in 100 years. Pretty wild. Here's a totally different take on that idea, but through the centuries all over the world!

*Cool! Lightning storm as seen from space!

*I want this on my door starting now for February through April!!

*This made me laugh out loud! 6 Time Dads Dressed the Kinds, and It Was Awesome! Seriously, GO DADS!!

This one makes me laugh every time I see it. 

*I've been on the quest for the perfect measuring spoons for my entire adult life. It may seem like a silly quest, but try being in a kitchen with half-ass measuring spoons. I'm convinced my baking attempts are a disaster due to this very simple lacking in my kitchen. All of that is to say...I like these. They purdy.

*On that same note. A hilarious video about parents judging other parents. It's so good, and I'm not even a parent! It can totally be applied to so many different aspects of life.

*I weirdly love these even though I know my feet would be dying at work (and I really dig the space-agey shiny metallic ones too!!).

*Nerd alert! I could really use these for the hubs' side of the closet!

*Mardi Gras will be here in 19 short days! I gotta order my king cake!

*I more than likely have shared this with y'all before. But I think I need this. Like not a want, but a need. I also may be confused about what "need" means.

*Yep. This pretty much summed up that business for me from ages 9-12. Can I get an Amen from the congregation?

I hope y'all have a truly wonderful day y'all! Cheers! OH! And don't forget to say "Rabbit Rabbit" on Sunday morning, it'll wish you good luck throughout the month. But don't worry if you forget first thing! Rumour has it you can undo the bad juju by saying "Tibbar Tibbar"! Later, y'all! Be blessed!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Give me a G!

Do me a favor, kiddos. After you've read this post, and after you have rolled your eyes and after you've sighed something along the lines of "yeah right, that'll never work!" as you close your computer and proceed to go about your day as usual...just take five minutes. Set a timer if you have to (I always do), and maybe find some nature sounds to play on your phone while you're at it (I like the White Noise Ambience app- particularly the "country meadow"). Close your eyes and try this:

If you're sitting in a chair, place your feet flat on the ground, no legs crossing or weird sitting positions. Place your hands on your knees, palms relaxed and facing up. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth for a few breaths. Keep your back comfortably straight. Your mind will wander all over the place. But after about 30 seconds (or 15 deep breaths give or take), imagine these letters being typed up in front of your minds eye:

G     R    A    T    I    T    U    D    E

Type them over and over again like in the movies when the camera zooms in on an old-fashioned typewriter, change the color, the font, have your mind scribble the word over and over again. Make piles of them in your mind, like a factory of this word. Then imagine the piles of words trembling to life and flying out of your line of vision, out of your house or office etc. and out into the world to find the people (and animals) you are grateful for. Imagine the words moving like a bird through the sky and soaring into the window of your best friend and seeing his or her face light up suddenly for no reason. Bet you smile. Imagine them floating in the window of your mother's kitchen as she has her first cup of coffee. Imagine them circling around your partner, child or happy little fur baby. Keep typing them. Send them out to strangers, to old friends you haven't seen in ages, to your mailman, or that nice cashier at Publix who always asks about your day because she remembers you work on your feet just like she does. Send them out to the people who are doing good in the world big and small. Send them all out except for one. Let that one circle over you and land on your shoulder gently. Then open your eyes.

I guarantee you will feel incredible after trying this. Do this as much as you can, change the imagery if that works for you, but keep that gratitude. Keep manufacturing and sending it out there. It totally works and I do it before bed sometimes, and when I do I always sleep better. It is but the work of a moment, but baby it feels so good.

I hope you have a truly wonderful day, and you know what? I'm grateful for you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A is for...

Happy Wednesday, friends! How is your week going? I'm back at work today after a very pleasant and productive two days off (could use about 29 more to be honest). I've been in my head a lot these past several weeks. Even through the static and of-no-good-use derailment last week, I've had a lot floating around my head about my life, career, skills (or lack thereof), things I want to accomplish, fears, friends, family, BMI, money, recipes, apartment hunting...well, I could have stopped with "a lot of things" but I think you follow me.

I've mentioned before that I've been meditating. It helps tremendously for me, and yes it takes a bit of practice; but now I look forward to it everyday (especially my before work and after lunch mini-meditations). Since the derailment last week, I've been looking for ways to improve upon my mini-meditations and get more bang for my buck particularly when I'm stressed or in a work situation I don't care for. While searching, I stumbled upon an article in Mind, Body, Green. I like this website most of the time and I have found some pretty, shiny gems there rather regularly.

The 4 A's of Successful Meditation Practice caught my eye for obvious reasons and after reading it, I got to thinking a little bit about those 4 A's and what they really mean when it comes down to the nitty gritty stuff that comes up when left alone with one's thoughts. The 4 A's are as follows:


In regards to meditation, most people unfamiliar with the practice may be surprised at the depth of the psychological aspects that accompany it. For those who practice, whether you like it or not, you know you come face to face with a lot of things that have been rolling around your ole noodle waiting for a chance to be heard.

Never one to be afraid of my own emotional dust bunnies, I didn't fret about those things bubbling up to the surface as I'd had it happen in previous experiences with meditation (and I sincerely believe that working through that gunk and garbage is worth it). However, the sheer volume has been surprising! Nothing mind-blowing or anything. stuff.

All of this is to say, friends, that outside of the realm of meditation, one can apply this 4 A's to help with the gunkier more garbagey things in your life. Things like talking disparagingly about yourself or others, sabotaging your healthy goals, lashing out at people when you're upset with something else entirely, drinking to excess, dangerous addictive issues, withholding affection or gratitude for a vague sense of get the picture. Deep down inside you are aware that these things exist within you (and are projected from you). No one is ever truly shocked to find out they do something that hurts themselves or others- there's a voice inside that can never really be shut up. It'll wake you up at 3 am and not allow you to sleep. Blame it on whatever, but eventually- you'll have to listen to that little voice and become aware of the bigger issues at hand.

Acknowledge that little bugger. It may be sitting in your living room for a little while. It'll feel like it's everywhere with you and that's because it is. Until you accept (and try forgiving) the part you played (or someone else did, if that applies) and accept that you are human and guess what? Humans make big stinking, smelly mistakes all day every day. It may not be okay what you're dealing with; but you can be okay with being healthier and happier despite it.

Then take action to change that shit.

Make an effort every day to alter the habits, dark words and thoughts, guilt, shame, and anything else you may be feeling from all that old crappy stuff. Make the littlest change a day, such as giving a compliment to someone when you'd usually keep it to yourself. Apologizing to someone you've hurt in the past, or choosing not to complain about eating this or that in your healthy-eating plan and instead close your eyes and identify the flavors you do like (in carrots for example). Be present in your life. Use those 4 A's to kick the troublesome issues of your big P (your past) right in the ass and out to the curb. Incinerate that nonsense with love, forgiveness and courage.

Working through major and minor emotional issues isn't easy. It can be ugly and you will have to allow yourself the fact that you are/will be vulnerable (and perhaps accept the vulnerability of others while you're at it). You will most likely have to make some big apologies to others and especially yourself. You will ugly cry like Sookie on True Blood (LOVE that ugly cry!). You may rage, you may scream at yourself in your car or at the sky. It's all good. Work through it. Crawl through it. Scrape through it. Then suddenly you'll find yourself in the clear. Aware of a new kind of peace and a bigger slice of happiness than you thought you could stomach beforehand.

Good luck friends. I'm doing it, you can too!

I hope you have a truly wonderful day!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Orleans by proxy

Perhaps because I watched the final episode of Treme. Perhaps because I then watched Skeleton Key (a guilty pleasure favorite of mine)...but I have been missing New Orleans lately. I had planned to make a New Orleans-inspired or truly Southern meal every Sunday beginning a few weeks back. I thought it'd be nice to harken to where we are from every week (instead of just being focused on budget budget budget) but my work schedule changed and I generally got derailed. So, last night while the hubs was at school, I hunkered down and made well- the recipe is called "Gumbolaya". It is like a tremendously delicious Louisiana-inspired stew served over rice. I pulled out my grandmother's cast iron and baked cornbread and y'all!!!! It was all terribly terribly (damn) good!

Now before y'all say you don't like that kind of food, it wasn't spicy (unless you want it to be-which I do- but if you don't you can use regular sweet sausage instead of spicy). And because y'all know I can only follow a recipe for five minutes before doing my own thing, I added a lot more parsley, garlic and cilantro than told to (and no shrimp because of budgets, baby). I also added a whisper of sugar which made a big difference and kept everything from getting a too acidic. Also, don't skimp on the okra if you think you don't like it. It adds a irreplaceable earthiness to it and is a must, not a suggestion!

Well, without further ado, here is the yummiest recipe I've made in a minute!

Recipe here. But I have to admit (and one day I'll have the foresight to prove it to you) my version was prettier, though admittedly less Bon Appetit-y. 

Do y'all have any special weekly meal traditions in your house or with your family? The world (sadly) doesn't run the same way as it did for our grandparents but I always loved the idea of a weekly family meal involving ham, biscuits, fried chicken and green beans. You know- a Southern classic. That'll probably be happening sooner rather than later for my little family unit!

I'd love to hear what y'all do and are up to! I hope you have a truly wonderful day!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Excuse me while I clear my head...

Hey y'all. Last week just derailed me in so many ways. Today's post was originally going to be another lengthy "thoughts on..." diatribe. You are safe from that today, friends! Instead, here are a few "under construction" organizational inspirations to hopefully get all of us taking care of our shit sooner rather than later (I know it ain't just me, y'all!).

Here's to you!

Including inside one's head! Great blog post with that link to btdubs!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Happies!

Hahahaha! This made me laugh out loud and immediately think of all the Southern women in my life!

Happy Friday, y'all! It's been a week. Man oh man. Not just for me but for my whole family. It's all good though. They're all far more graceful than I am. I still chug along. Anyway, I'm working all weekend, but if you aren't or if you are some funs, pretties, happies, what-not's and feel-goods to help usher you into a nice one regardless!! Enjoy!

*I love this flawy, gauzy top. But I feel compelled to do some push ups (or just get a nice long cardigan to layer with instead) beforehand!

*I'm not a glitzy glam kind of gal, but there are some cute (and some practical) ideas here. 15 ideas for fixing up your old high heels. 

*I really want to make this for our trash and recycling area. Three black plastic trash cans from Home Depot do not do it for me aesthetically. For reals, y'all.

*Have y'all listened to the new song by Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud? I love it! The video is pretty romantic too! Not bad for a guy who never danced like that until training for the video!

*This little heart necklace is so pretty and would be such a nice birthday, Mother's Day or Valentine's Day!

*This Dove "Love your curls" campaign had me crying the happiest tears. They do a wonderful project to help little girls love their curly hair (it made me so sad to hear them say they hated their curls at the beginning, that they wanted to pull it out or straighten it!) then Dove gets together and makes something really beautiful!! I think it's such a lovely way to help little kids in general love the way they look naturally. 

*This made me laugh out loud. Weird ways couples mess with each other. The hubs and I are definitely guilty of a few of these!

*I could not help but cry. Her friends, assistant and cast and crew (of her tv show) flash mobbed her with a cute hula dance! Her reaction is just wonderful! She is the funniest, sweetest gal. Happy 93rd birthday, Betty! Anytime you need a feel good moment, watch it.

*While you're at it, this funny clip of Johnny Carson and Betty White as Adam & Eve had the hubs and I snorting!

*The ultimate reading challenge! Oh, it sounds so fun!!

*100 years of black beauty (and hairstyles) in 1 minute! I love them all! The 1960's is my favourite. The 2000's made me laugh because I totally remember that hairstyle was everywhere!

*Wanna live in a nuclear missile silo in Roswell? It's kinda cool!

*I'm a nerd. I'm a nerd who is also quite vain.  I'm obsessed with teaching myself to sleep on my back (because I want to minimize d├ęcolletage wrinkles and the inevitable sagging of my face). Therefore I'm always researching things that will help me accomplish this.

*What would our favorite literature characters be like in 2015? Yes & Yes (I told you I love her blog!) just started a great feature where she explores that very sweet idea! Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables- love it!!

*In 1959, a woman mailed a letter to the man that fathered her child five years previously. Newly married, his wife intercepted the letter and hid it, never mentioning it to him. Fifty-five years later, the father found the letter and found his son. He thought he'd never had any children and always lamented it. It's so sweet to see them together. My favorite quote: "How do you feel finding out you have a son?" His reply? "Like any proud father with a newborn son." Awwwwwwwwww!!!!!!

*Because I already told you I'm a nerd and I love this kind of stuff! Egg identification chart!!

I hope you have a truly wonderful and relaxing weekend no matter what you get into!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Comfort food!

Even though the weather has gotten unseasonably warm for the moment, I am still in a super comforting soup mood. I've been trying some new recipes that are budget-friendly to get us through (and keep us on our debt paying and saving track).

A favorite at our house right now is the delicious Chicken, Lime & Avocado soup! It is so good, y'all! You have to try it! It's bright and fresh instead of tangy and spicy as it would suggest (and I used one jalape├▒o instead of two and was very careful not to get any membrane or seeds in there so it's not too spicy). It's so good and flavorful that next time I'm going to make it sans-broth and use it to stuff soft tacos! Yum!!!

Another favorite is my Broccoli & Pea Coconut Milk Deliciousness Soup (better name and recipe for y'all to try coming soon!).

I hope y'all have a truly wonderful, comforting and cosy day!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A funny thing happened on the way to the theatre...

Now y'all know I've been analyzing things a bit lately. Yesterday I happened upon some information about Aquarians (I happen to be one) and I started laughing out loud and nervously adjusting an invisible tie. A lot of the things I've been trying to work through and deal with (in my attempts at growth and healing), were written right there before my eyes!

I've always kind of listened with one ear to astrology. It's fun and interesting but it isn't for everyone. Anyway, I about fell out of my chair as I read description after description (some not so nice) of my personality and some of the traits I've had troubles with. Here are a few for your enjoyment too (especially if you know me or any other Aquarians):

*"When an Aquarian stresses out about having too much to do, they typically step aside and do nothing at all." I'm super guilty of that and totally have written about it on this very blog!

*"Aquarians hate mind games. Just be straight-up with them." That is currently one of my issues with one of the situations I mentioned on Tuesday's post for heaven's sake! I get so pissed off when people play games. Passive-aggression grinds my gears like nothing else because to me, the games are so blatantly obvious and infuriating and worthless!

*"Aquarians are the most determined when it comes to honesty. If they catch you in a lie, they won't stop until they know the truth." I would add to that we also don't ask a question if we aren't prepared for the honest (sometimes painful) truth and we expect the same (perhaps unfairly sometimes) from the people we engage.

*"Aquarians will do the opposite of what you tell them to do, just to show you who's in control." I will add to that statement: "Unless we smell a trap. Then we just do whatever the hell we wanted to in the first place." We are a "special" group. And that control thing? I've totally done it in varying shades.

*"Aquarians love pleasing others, but you should expect to return the favor. They [deeply] value being treated the way they treat others." Oh yeah. The golden rule, man. It's important!

*"They find humor in a lot of things. Their funny bone gets tickled pretty easily." That could not be more true. I literally giggled as I typed this sentence.

*"Aquarians don't use the terms 'trust' or 'friend' loosely." We give a lot of chances, but when you're out yo, you are out. Period. We'll be civil, but the hands are washed, man.

*"Aquarians are more ruthless than they let on." Yep.

*"When an Aquarian gets mad, no one is safe." It takes a lot to make me mad and when I am...well, I've been told I look like the devil.

*"Aquarians will hide their jealousy. It's weakness in their eyes." I totally slapped my forehead on that one. I've never thought about it like that before but it is exactly how I view jealousy...and big, boastful egos while we're on about it!

*And here's the clincher for me, because it is absolutely my biggest pet peeve and I get all weird when it happens. "Being ignored by someone who's attention means the world to you is the worst feeling." I would add to it that "ignored" really isn't the term I'd use. It's more like if I'm speaking to you and you don't listen or tune me out, it affects us more deeply than it would anyone else [aka a normal person]."

I have to be honest, it was hard to read all the non-flattering descriptions and have them ring very true. I had a few uncomfortable "aha" moments. There were more that I didn't even want to post. But all in all, it was an interesting discovery and it's had me thinking a lot about my current trying situation (mentioned Tuesday) and about how I can handle these traits of mine that are very real and not always pleasant for others to be around. How I can handle my end of the situation in a better way.

It was also a much-needed boost to hear the positive things too. Things about being loyal, honest, truthful, sincere, and loving much more deeply than we sometimes can show. There's a lot going on in my brain and my heart and I just want to do the best and be the best me I can be.

What about y'all? Any Aquarians out there that can relate to any of those descriptions (be honest with yourself!). What sign are you and do you agree with the descriptions of traits? Do you think it's all hogwash? Do you have to admit that every now and then it hits the nail on the head? I'd love to know!

And while I'm at it, y'all, a reminder that it's okay to dig through the uncomfortable, ugly and sticky parts of our personalities. It's important to learn from mistakes, mend things and grow. Be good to yourselves and others. It's as simple as that! I truly hope you have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thoughts on Cruel Intentions...

Y'all, I've been meditating for a few weeks now. I used to years ago, but recently I've dived right into it again and have never been so successful with it as I am these days. A lot of things have improved since I started doing this practice for myself.

1. I sleep better.
2. I take better care of myself in general.
3. I don't lose my mind or complain as much as I used to at work when customers are annoying (which is 80% of the time).
4. My digestion is better.
5. I've gotten more observant to the underlying things going on with people's behaviors (including my own).

All of those things are wonderful. The last one however, is...well, it's interesting. It's like I have a special lens I can see what's behind what people are saying and doing (even catching myself in some cagey moments!). I'm seeing instead of reacting to it. I'm quite aware of my own reactive nature (bad) to their stuff and I'm seeing more clearly between the lines to all of their absolute nonsense (a lot). My senses are heightened and it has definitely been an eye opener.

Here are the things that I'm experiencing (have been for a while) and observing with a  few people in my life all of which I'm pretty much hurt by and just fed up with.

1. Passive aggressive barbs.
2. "Jokingly" name calling.
3. Eye-rolling, sighing, making rude faces whenever something light-hearted or fun or silly is mentioned. (No, these aren't teenagers, these are grown people.)
4. Constant one-ups and beat-downs in a competition I'm not participating in.
5. Subtle undermining and not-so subtle undermining.
6. Bragging about psychologically unhealthy habits as if they're normal then insulting others who disagree.
7. Chaos-to-chaos puddle jumping. (That's a constant, unfortunately).
8. Sabotage and judgment for other's successes.
9. Knocking or berating someone else, particularly if they are in a vulnerable state.

Unlike some people I know...this made me laugh so loud!!

Now, I'm a jokester and I love to laugh, but this is different. I'm also a sensitive gal. And I'm very aware this could easily be misinterpreted as playing the victim. But I'm being honest here, "playing the victim" is not what is happening with these people in my life.

I have my moments too, I own them and I am actively working on them. I want to improve and I don't want to bring anybody down. And there's the rub.

I try really really hard not to take my stuff out on other people. I actively work on it every single day. Even when I get totally pissed off at someone, I remove myself from their presence if I can until I've calmed down so I don't say anything in anger, frustration or defense. Now I know some could say that's not true or that I've been snippy in the past. I totally have. But when I'm cranky y'all, I say so. You never have to guess if something is bugging me. It's written all over my damn face. I don't insult you for asking me about it though. I at least try to remove myself from the situation so I don't lash out.

The rest of the time though, I make a point to tell people something positive and uplifting. It's been a goal of mine for years how and it is successful, for the most part. At least with healthy individuals who don't sling their crazy around like an apron with a bee caught up in it.

Yesterday one of these people called me a bitch because she complimented my lip color and I wasn't wearing any. Now of course calling me a bitch was supposed to be a joke, but...I'm at a point in my life where (call me crazy, y'all) I don't want my supposed friends calling me a bitch or any other mean name to be honest! Okay maybe if they said I was a badass bitch or something like that, but that's a different kind of category entirely!

All of this is to say that I've found myself feeling a bit lonely about it. I am particularly close to two of these three people and it feels gross to feel like a receptacle for their bullshit. It feels really bad to give genuine compliments, feedback and (asked for) advice only to be shot down, insulted, made fun of and undermined (even if it is supposed to sound like a joke). I'm weary of it. I feel sad for them that they seem so miserable inside that they feel compelled to hurt others, to lash out at others (me mostly). I feel sad for them that they can't hear the good being said to them and about them and they choose to shoot it down instead and lash out. I watch them as they sabotage their relationships with their spouses/partners (or can't make it work because they have to find something to pick at), children and well- me, to be frank.

However- some of this is on me. I don't have to react. I don't have to care. I don't have to square peg these relationships. I can simply care about them, hope for the best for them and take care of myself. I have to hear my inner voice and it has to be louder than their piss-ant misery and self-destruction. I've worked too hard to be in a  healthy place. I don't need their (or anyone's) crazy getting on my new pretty shoes, you know what I mean?

And you know what? You don't need it either. Everyone has that person (or persons) in their life that just chooses you as their target and pick ceaselessly. I've got a lot of work to do on myself and how I deal with those situations (other than running away, which always sounds so nice). I'm here for you if you ever need an ear or a shoulder or advice or just a friendly how d'ya do!

I truly hope you have a wonderful day! Be kind to people. Just...choose kindness. Everyone has shit their dealing with, as do you. Kindness is infinitely better and more powerful than choosing to hurt.

Keep reaching for that higher up, healthier place! It's attainable and it's bloody awesome!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy Birthday, Dr. King!

Happy Monday, y'all! I hope for those of you who get today off, that you enjoy it. Today I thought I'd share some quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Everyone knows the "I have a dream" speech, but he said many things I find inspiring, so I'm sharing them with y'all in the hopes you find them inspiring too. We can all use a reminder to treat others better, including ourselves. I know I do!

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

"Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude."

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

"Let no man pull you low enough to hate him."

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."

"The time is always right to do what is right."

"Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness; because greatness is determined by service."

We have a lot of work to do, y'all. Inside and out. I hope you have a truly wonderful day.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Happies!!

More on vintage Airstream trailers here.

Hey y'all! It's Friday! I'm working all weekend long but I hope you are free as a bird! Here's this week's list of pretties, funnies, happies and what-nots to bring a smile to your face and kick your weekend off right!

*A homeless man offered a stranded college student every last penny so she could get home safely in a taxi late at night. What she did for him in return is lovely!

*What a pretty and simple necklace. I'd love to give it as a gift to a girlfriend (and get one for myself while I'm at it!).

*Twin babies hold hands and talk to each other for the first time. So cute! I'm super fascinated by twins.

*Woah. IMPACT!

*I started this Plank Challenge last night in an attempt to whittle down the damage I've done to my tummy over the past two years. I thought it was going to be daunting, but it really isn't and I can feel it immediately (which in my head means I'll just wake up with six pack abs in a week). Whatever works, y'all!

*Okay, so I know this sounds all hippie-dippy & earth-muffiny but these cauliflower tortillas sound really delicious!

*12 things you didn't know about Airstream trailers! I have a soft spot for these silver bullets.

*Ruh-Roh!! A new British murder mystery to get hooked on! Grantchester!

*Trying to eat a bit healthier for the new year? Here are 8 inspiring ways to remove starch from your diet by replacing it with one vegetable!

*I'm originally from Nashville and I'm basically obsessed with Lonny; so a home tour by Lonny of a Nashville home? Right up my alley!! And it's completely cute!

*Dang y'all! Grilled Peach Slaw! Go on, now! That sounds sooooo good!!!

*These would be perfect for work (and life) this spring and summer!

*This both inspired me and cracked me up. The Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe.

*Oooooooh!!!!! The Hidden Caribbean! Meet you there! I'll be the one with the sunscreen and shot glasses!

*Hahahaha! Meet the Flockers and the Quackers! I just love this site, Fresh Eggs Daily!

Have a truly wonderful weekend, friends!! I hope you enjoyed this 150th post of P&PPS!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Things I've learned from obsessive marathons of British television shows.

Cuppa. See #11

I don't know why I've always enjoyed British television shows, but I truly do. Our local PBS station gave me endless comedic nurturing as a child (Are You Being Served?, Monty Python). With the advent of Amazon Prime and Netflix Instant Watch, I have to say I've discovered so many more shows and I love them all. There is something off and quaint and terribly charming about the way they do their programs. American shows quite frequently have a stale Hollywood-ed quality that I dislike. There are exceptions of course where the weird or drama is allowed to flow (30 Rock is a fantastic example), but for the most part if you want humor and heart (with dashes of drama and total weirdness), tune in to the BBC (or stream it all with a cosy blanket, a cup of tea and a sleeve of Jammy Dodgers, and practice your best accent!).

So anyway, here is a list of things I've learned from obsessively marathoning British television shows:

1. Horse brass are mounted everywhere! Once you know what they are, you will see them everywhere! I've got three in my kitchen right now!

2. Victims in murder mysteries are all politely non-bloody.

3. The alternate is true for their rough & rowdy shows (such as Peaky Blinders-- Cillian Murphy meowr!).

4. Old British houses have the loveliest little reading nooks with good sunlight.

5. Florals are e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e! Dresses, cushions, ceramics, draperies, everything.

6. If it isn't floral, it's hats, if it isn't hats its patterned jumpers (otherwise known as sweaters).

Richard Armitage from The Vicar of Dibley (also meowr!) in his saucy jumper.

6. They love their drink!

Cue to 7:33 for one of my favorite scenes ever. Laura Thyme (in a peroxide blonde wig) and Rosemary Boxer both drunk as skunks. So funny!

7. Love can blossom with very little interaction. See again Rosemary & Thyme, The Vicar of Dibley (to name a few) and anything Jane Austen ever wrote.

8. But when it does, they can really drag that sucker out! There's something to be said about that; but also, as an American, sometimes you wanna see them kiss already!!!!

C'mon Tim! (The Office- the original).

9. Endings tend to be neat and tidy, if however, rather bittersweet.

10. They are far better with historic shows than Americans. It's a bit embarrassing really. The Brits go for accuracy whereas the Americans go for style. As a history nerd, I find that annoying.

11. A cuppa will do just fine instead of a hug in most emotionally-intense situations.

12. But boy do their story lines pluck at the heart strings, even the comedies! Ooof.

Hands down one of the funniest and most poignant television shows I've ever seen. Derek. Watch it on Netflix.

13. The British aren't terribly sentimental when an actor leaves a show and they easily replace them either with a lookalike or remove the character completely. Americans are far too sentimental for that kind of nonsense, it'd only pass (but barely) with soap operas.

Land Girls.

14. They aren't afraid to get a bit weird.

Being Human. See also, Spaced, below.

15. Though a bit cagey and bitey (snippy as we'd say down here in the South) and quick to tease each other ruthlessly, they have their own unique love languages and I suppose the affections run very deep though only a trickle is visible from the outside. Not that that is big news, just something I was surprised to actually see!

Ab Fab. An oldie but a goodie.

16. They do love a dinner gathering!

17. As well as a ragtag group of misfits. Ensemble casts seem to be quite a big deal.

The cast of Misfits. A truly original (and completely odd) sci-fi superhero show that I love.

18. When in doubt, running gags, puns, and irreverence (and even more weird)!!!

A favorite of mine, Spaced.
Have a truly wonderful day, y'all!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Two Week Check In!

Alright y'all, can you believe we're already two weeks in to the new year?! It's going by too fast already! So, how are your resolutions going? Whether it's weight loss, organizing that spare bedroom, learning a new craft or skill or getting through Julia Child's entire cookbook; before you give up on the goals you set for yourself, have you tried making an organized "goal at-a-glance" so you can keep track as you go along? I found this the other day and I thought it was a complete gem for a few reasons:

1. It's simple. You won't do it if it isn't simple!

2. It's manageable. It's small, no special supplies are needed other than a stack of post-it notes and a pen. However, six tasks seem so much more feasible when they are written in big lettering on small pieces of paper. And! It forces you to choose the six most important tasks instead of the dozens of minute ones that seem important but really aren't.

3. It's visual. Each task is assigned to a small square piece of brightly coloured paper. The at-a-glance benefits cannot be denied! Especially if you're really trying to get organized.

4. It's efficient! Each week you update it with the simple changing of a slip of paper. It minimizes the perceived workload to make each task achievable.

Alls ya gotta do is write your goal as your heading and six things you can do to move forward with that goal every week (oh and DO THEM)!

What do you think? Do you think you'll try it out? I think it's a peach of an idea to keep one motivated and in control of their goals (and plain ole to-do's too). We've gotta get going on our year's list, we're already 1/26th done with this year! Aaaaaaagh!! JK, fifty weeks is nothing to sneeze at!

Also, I'd love to know what works for you! I'm always game to try something new! Have a wonderfully organized and productive day!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Thoughts on 10 minutes...

The other day I saw something on a blog I read regularly (Yes & Yes) about the first ten minutes of anything you do. Something about it really stuck with me. Here's how it goes:

              "The first ten minutes of any part of your day - when you get up, when you get into work, 
               when you get home - often set the pace for the rest of it. Pay attention to your choices; 
               create a routine that serves you."

I love it! It's such a simple concept and it rings true (for me at least). My husband and I are pretty bad about getting on our respective computers as soon as we get home (for example). Yes, we have multiple online outlets that we utilize for business purposes and that's all well and good. I noticed, though, that when we come home and don't open the computers for a while, the vibe is generally better for the evening. Then we feed off each other's productivity. I noticed it just last night when I got home from work! 

So I'm going to make an effort to be better with all of my first ten minutes'. When I wake, when I get to work, when I take my lunch, when I get home from work etc. Even if those ten minute increments are the most productive of my whole day, that's a lot of minutes! It's a hell of a lot better than paying no attention to it at all; and I have a sneaking suspicion that productivity wouldn't stop with that first ten. Positive stuff is super contagious! 

Will you try it with me, y'all? Try to be mindful of the first ten minutes of all you do? It's so easy and it really shed a light on how we spend (and waste!) our time. 

And sometime or another, take a few moments to check out Yes & Yes. Her blog is quite enjoyable!

I truly hope you have a wonderful day!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Colour Therapy- Saffron!

I am all in the mood for the bright, happy cosiness of saffron today! Maybe because it's been so cold and grey, my Vitamin D deficiency kicked in or something.  Just for funsies, I thought I'd spend a little time today sharing some beautiful things to (maybe, hopefully!) get you to feel the metaphorical sunshine on your face too!

In feng shui, a warm happy yellow is a color for health. In meditation, the yellow and orange chakras represent positive use of personal power, meditation and digestion as well as the utilization of creative forces in all aspects of your being (gotta love that!) respectively.  

After this harried holiday season and during this long stretch of cold, and grey we all naturally grow a little internal. I think that's great and really important; but while you're at it, you can at least have a little manmade sunshine in your life. Just because you're cozied in, doesn't mean you have to get all Season Affective Disorder-y on us.

Just think of the daffodils popping out of the frosty ground y'all, they're little shoots of sunshine during the harshest time of year!

Velvet pillows! I don't usually like velvet because it makes my teeth hurt to touch it, but the color is fantastic; and if you're not afflicted with the weird velvet/teeth situation then I highly recommend adding them for a comforting texture in your living room or bedroom.

A stunning shade, "Nasturtium" ,to add a pop of color to your walls. I think it'd be pretty painted 3/4 of the way down a wall with a rough border (not with painters tape but kind of eyeballed instead). 

This lovely and soft-looking rug from Anthropologie!

Pretty glass beads to wear with a winter white or grey outfit maybe?!

A little bucket/basket to brighten up the inevitable laundry malaise or use as a planter for a leafy friend!

The ultimate soft tee for lounging about in leggings or jammie bottoms (and big wooly socks) watching Netflix marathons.

And last but not least! A delicious recipe to make that will warm your heart and your senses! I truly want to try this! Cardamom & Saffron Pears. Yum yum yum!!!

I hope you have a truly wonderful day, y'all! Don't forget to let the sunshine in!!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Happies!

Happy Friday fellas! I'm very much looking forward to a day off. It's been an interesting week. My plans? Clean! Organize! Menu plan! Exercise! Naps! I am waiting with baited breath. I hope y'all all get some nice time of respite soon too! Heeeeere's the list of funs, pretties and happies to help nudge you into your weekend with a smile on your face!

*This made me laugh...and cringe. How to spot an American traveling abroad. I'm definitely guilty of the tipping and talking to strangers. My husband is guilty of the white socks and baseball cap!

*I need a little bit of this. "McMindfulness".

*Unique and pretty glass boxes to organize jewelry or little keepsakes you treasure. I love the idea of a "curiosity" display.

*Oh my goodness! Twin Peaks pin up girls! I just got inspired to do a Twin Peaks marathon!! I love me some Sherilyn Fenn!

*I love the simplicity of the jewelry from Masha Moon! I think I'll be perusing their site more frequently.

*Y'all know I'm a history nerd. Well, I found a site that teaches you how to date undated old photographs by what the people are wearing, how their wearing it and hairstyles. So cool!! I got lost on it for a little while.

*Something we all need! Seven things that clean up your gut. I don't recognize a couple of these, but I'm still intrigued. I'm convinced that so many maladies can be remedied from a healthy gut (and I don't mean a spare tire!). Interesting stuff!

*Though I don't necessarily think a little girl needs to get married to consider herself worthy like a "Queen", I still love what that this papa is teaching his (adorable) little girls to know they deserve love, respect, honor and good manners from the people they choose to have in their lives.

*I know it's way to soon to be thinking about warm weather clothes, but I saw this top on Parc Boutique's web site and just loved it. It makes me want to wear flowy linen pants and super long light weight sweaters and sophisticated sandals. It makes me daydream about living in a little beachy historic town and having a little shop and living simply. All for the low low price of...well- we won't go there! Yikes!

*Y'all, Tony Bennett's new record Cheek to Cheek is really lovely. I adore him and this new release of songs from The American Songbook just makes me smile. Listen to the whole record here! 

*In the rush of the holidays (and the apparently unavoidable cold and buggy virus from hell that accompanied it), I missed my awesome mom's awesome post about the holidays! It's so lovely and tactile and visual. She really has a way with creating a bittersweet, cosy and magical nostalgia with every little thing she touches. So what if the holidays are over?! Walk down that little path with her today, it's charming and warm and sometimes you just need something as simple as that to make your day better.

*Beauty insights from a French tomboy. Fascinating for those who love French style, but don't really want to care about not caring that much. Ha! I definitely am stealing a handful of these tips!

*There is something truly magical about flower bulbs. I'm a February baby, and have always had a soft spot for tulips, crocus, and daffodils as they start to sprout up around then. But I also love amaryllis and just about anything else that comes in bulb form. They're just little gifts that keep on giving and remind me of a lot of lovely women in my life. Even the ones that didn't garden much! All of that is to say, check out these bulbs, y'all! Plant some magic today!

*And on a upbeat but melancholy note, a farewell to Little Jimmy Dickens. When I was a little girl, my dad played drums at the Grand Ole Opry and I saw and spoke with Little Jimmy Dickens practically every time I was there. He was always nice, even to a little kid he didn't know. I didn't know until I was a few years older just how special, funny and talented he was. Rest in peace, sir.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

What the succulent?!

I love succulents. They remind me of the women in my family. I inherited a few after my great-grandmother passed and my mom has some of my grandmother's growing in her yard. I love them, but I have to admit, I'm not great at getting them to flourish. One of my great-grandmother's is on its last legs lately and I've been searching for a way (if possible) to resuscitate it.

Does anyone else have this problem? I have a friend who can't keep anything at all alive. Nada. I'm not quite that bad. In fact my amaryllis comes back multiple times a year with beautiful pink and white striped blossoms- and it's due entirely to 90% mindful neglect. She loves it and just keeps coming back around!

With one or two of my succulents though...I kind of just shake my head sometimes. Some grow without issues, but one or two...oi vey. So I've plunged into the web to try to find what I'm doing wrong.

First things first, I think I may have the wrong potting soil, or that the one I've had the most trouble with may have not had good enough drainage when I got it and it got a bit of rot. So, I've brought it inside because we had two weeks of cold rain and that's super bad if the drainage isn't right.

I've also read about a cactus soil mix and Perlite? I'm not sure what that is exactly, but the soil I've had it in is soil + sand, and it has rocks in it to help with drainage. I hope that works. I'm afraid to try to transplant it because it's hanging on by a thread. If I do, I'll need to consult my Farmer's Almanac for the right time to do so (plus its the waning moon and that's no good for transplanting either!).

I have moderately had success in propagating some of the succulents leaves. I hope that helps in keeping this little connection to my grand and great-grandmother's plants alive.

Do you guys have any tried and true succulent care tips? I'd love to know!

Have a truly wonderful day, y'all! Go and get your fingers in some soil, it's good for the soul!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The crazy pool (thoughts on crazy-makers part...4 I think).

Everyone has a little crazy. I like to think of it as there is a great big pool of "crazy" and at some point in our lives we dip our toes in. Sometimes someone we loves jumps in and we jump in to try to save them only to find they are stepping over us to get out and we start drowning instead. Sometimes people swan dive right into the deep end and never stop splashing you. But most of us only ever get ankle deep in the shallow end steps.

I've been on every side of this pool. I've dipped a toe, I've waded waist deep. I've cannonballed into the deep end only to swim straight to the ladder and get out. I've tanned on a chaise beside the pool and spent many years cleaning that murky son of a bitch to no avail. I've been pulled in countless times. I've worn water wings, I've precariously coasted by on a sinking half-inflated float. I've chokingly tried to argue with someone who was using my shoulders to hold me down under water.

Every person in or around the pool is choosing to be there. Some know nothing else and don't know that pulling people into that green algae'd pool with them won't make their personal experience (pain etc.) any better, it only hurts those they pulled in.

All of this is to say: Get out of the pool, y'all. Don't pull anyone into your shitty swampy concrete pond. Get out, towel off and hit the showers. Don't look back...and while you're at it, take a few moments to tell the people who've stuck by you that you love them and you're sorry if you've ever pulled them in (even accidentally). Even if you're on great terms- it never hurts to say it, y'all. Walk away. Break the cycle. You'll feel better once you rinse off and put on some clean, warm jammies. I promise.

To those of you who have: I commend you. Well done, you! It ain't easy, but it's worth it to be healthy and happy!

I truly hope you have a wonderful day. Please be kind to one another and to yourselves. It's easier than you think, and oh so contagious.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Put some good out there.

Earlier this week, a little girl survived a plane crash that killed her parents and other members of her family. This little girl (seven years old) walked through the Kentucky wilderness in very cold temperatures (though she was dressed for warm Florida weather) and found the actual closest possible house, got help and managed to direct rescue workers to the crash site. She did this with a broken wrist and covered in blood from other minor injuries. Her name is Sailor and she is safe and cared for in the custody of her grandmother now.

I am in awe of this little girl: her wits, the survival skills she remembered and her fortitude. If you want to join me in donating to this fund for her, please do. If you have another organization that speaks to you, please give a little to it today. I am reminded that remarkable comes in many shapes, sizes and situations. This is just one of many.

I hope you have a truly wonderful day.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Real thoughts on being present.

Happy Monday, y'all! I don't know about you, but I surely am not ready to get back into the swing of things. One day off just isn't enough in my book, but I shouldn't complain. That's one of my "vague" resolutions (I'm definitely going to need it to get through this week)!

Anyway, today I wanted to chat briefly about being present. It's a lot harder than those zen people make it seem like. I work hard on it and though I'm annoyingly observant and analytical; I still find myself falling short a lot. This is how I know (see if it rings any bells for you).

*I find myself getting into bed at night and feeling like I was just there. The day feels like a blur.

*I zone out while someone is speaking to me, even if I love them and/or what they're saying is completely interesting. Or I don't remember the drive home from work (yikes!).

*I escape. Netflix marathons are a biggie. Very long baths are another. Every now and then is perfectly okay, but sometimes those marathons or baths last a lot longer than they should.

*I react. "I'm bored, let's go eat out." "I know I have five loads of laundry to do, let's go to the book store or a movie instead." "I'm mad about something that happened at work, I'm going to take a ridiculously long bath and stew" (literally and figuratively). "Customers are annoying me, I'm going to go to the back office and occupy myself with something unimportant or not at all helpful." My mind can become full of white noise, and distraction becomes the go-to.

Instead of tackling things head on (which is the way I normally attempt to do things), I let them pile up or haunt me. I have a problem staying present sometimes. So, in case this is a problem for you too, here are some ways to help (and yes, I will take my own damn advice).

*Daily gratitude. Even just stealing a quiet moment at work in the loo to look at yourself in the mirror and say one thing you are more grateful for than mad at at the moment. "I am thankful that I put dinner in the crockpot this morning because I'll have a wonderful dinner to go home to in less than five hours. I'm going to put on some unbelievably comfy pajamas and kiss my dog on the head and eat that delicious dinner!" Sometimes that little reminder of something happy can get you through a lot of annoyance at work (or home or school or wherever you are). Reminding yourself of small greatnesses really can do wonders for you spirit and pop you right back into the moment where you belong.

*Time outside. Even five minutes. It's unbelievable how little time people devote to being outdoors these days. No wonder people can't wrap their heads around global environmental crises, they aren't spending time in the beautiful outdoors. Yes, and even though it's winter and cold, it still pays to be out in it for a few minutes a day (bundled up nicely, of course). I love to notice the minute changes in the seasons. Right now the trees are spindly and grey and make beautiful designs against the sky. And look up at the remainder of the Full Moon from Sunday. What a gorgeous silver pie! Laugh at the animals in your neighborhood. They can't help but be entertaining. Where I live there are birds everywhere right now, even the seagulls have come inland and are happily stealing bread from the ducks at the lake (who are getting sassy in return). Even if its just a moment, take that moment. Realign with yourself, with your spirit and with nature. It truly helps with priorities and presence.

*Have a cuppa. Take a few minutes to sit down with a nice cup of coffee or tea or warm water with lemon. Prepare it for yourself and focus on it. Be in the moment and enjoy it as you consume it. Sure your mind will wander, let it. If you sanction time to let it wander then it tends to wander less when you're actually needing it to focus.

*Write. Just jot down what's been going on in your day. Is it cold, rainy or lovely and sunny? Did you eat something scrumptious? Write it down. Remember it. Savour it. Did you have a quick breakfast with someone you love? What made you laugh? This ties in nicely with the gratitude bit too. It's amazing how it flows when you start to jot it all down. It doesn't have to be Shakespeare. No one ever has to read it but you. It can just be you and yours. And it will help you when you're feeling all "blurry" too (of course it will happen, you're human).

*Get some sleep. Go to bed early, don't play that next episode of Louie or Call the Midwife. Just wash your face, brush your teeth and get in that cosy bed. Get 8 hours, go ahead. Your body needs it, and your mind most definitely needs it too.

I hope this helps y'all a little. It's nothing new, no reinvention of the wheel. Just a few thoughts on caring for yourself and being present in your own life-- it's your show after all!! Enjoy it!

I truly hope you have a wonderful day!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Friday Happies!

Pretty towels (see below).

Hey y'all! Sorry this is getting out a bit late, but it's still chock-full of pretties, happies and fun things to help you kick off your weekend right! Hang on and enjoy the ride!

*Groovy Harry Potter books! Rather chic, I'd say!

*I really dig the Akola Project, what they do and provide as well as all the pretty things they sell.

*We did the 12 grapes thing this new year. Have you ever done it? It was fun and harder than I thought to get twelve grapes down my gullet in less than a minute.

*This monkey saved his friend when he was electrocuted and fell unconscious! Its sweet and a little heartbreaking watching him panic, but in the end he's a little monkey hero! Aw!!

*I kinda love these.

*How to stop hitting the snooze button. I need this! I've been a regular snooze-hound for weeks now and it just makes me feel sleepier!

*This made me smile because it's totally me every day!

*I'm in the market for a new watering can. My last one was my grandmother's and finally kicked the bucket (no pun intended). This one is beautiful!

*I don't usually wear a lot of blue, but I think this hat is so pretty!!

*Interesting read about how 2014 was a thriving year for female choreographers! Cool!

*Twelve monthly wellness challenges to try this year! I like #2 and #12 in particular!

*Lonny online magazine's 2015 resolutions! I could get lost on that website. It's such decorative inspiration!

*These Meyer Lemon Eclairs sound positively incredible.

*I have zero need for this in any way but it's so darn cute!!!

*One of the things I'd like to do this year is slowly replace my towels with nice white fluffy luxurious spa-y towels. I love these "woodgrain" towels. So pretty (and reasonable for organic too!).