28 January 2015

Vintage WASP Style: Dooney

In middle school Mother gave me a Dooney & Bourke. I loved it, and it is one of the few purses I kept growing up as it is a classic and lasts forever with it's wonderful workmanship. I did not keep my Liz's or Aigners as they seem tackier and small. It is the perfect size, unless I'm needing to take my iPad or a book. If I'm headed to church or the mall, I just need my wallet, phone, lipstick, and keys, and this is a crossbody so it is not cumbersome.  
"In 1975 in Norwalk, CT, Dooney & Bourke was born through the creative vision of Peter Dooney and the entrepreneurial spirit of Frederic Bourke. Inspired by America’s rich history in leather goods, ranging from mail pouches to saddle bags and early military gear, we created the distinct blend of classic and contemporary styles that have been the hallmark of every Dooney & Bourke collection.

The Dooney & Bourke brand was launched with the idea that we could make a difference in the fine leather goods market. With a steadfast commitment to enduring style, timeless versatility, and uncompromising quality, we selected only the finest raw materials and revived the time-honored techniques of old world leather craftsman.

Since our founding nearly forty years ago, we’ve become known as a brand that stands for creating iconic designs inspired by our American-heritage style and our New England roots." Dooney website

This is very disturbing...Disney. They also have sports team bags. In my opinion, this makes the company look kitchy. I like traditional bags, which these are not. How can Italian craftsmakers make these bags?!

 This train card case is really cute. Yes, I realize that it's men's but I wear Polo's so I don't mind.
This outfit is cute. The best place to buy the vintage Dooney is thrift stores, Etsy, and Ebay. I like this black watch bag that is on sale and would not turn it down if offered. ;)

26 January 2015

23 January 2015

Happy National Handwriting & Pie Day

Muzzie's handwriting is so beautiful!
Thanks to Susan Branch's twitter account, I know it is National Handwriting Day. Check out her blog post on making a living with handwriting. I enjoy sending and receiving handwritten notes/letters. I routinely write to friends and my grandmother(s). I cherish the letters from my now deceased grandparents (and the one living) as well as postcards from family and friends all over (the one in the box is from my parents trip to Venice). Having these momentos is so special. I owe my Father-in-law a letter, even though I do not write in Spencerian lettering as Muz. I've read that children are no longer taught how to write cursive handwriting. My son was in occupational therapy throughout elementary and middle school. When he was in the third grade they had me purchase Handwriting Without Tears as cursive writing actually activates a part of the brain. If your child is in public school and they are not taught it please purchase the book and teach your child yourself.

It's also National Pie Day. I made a super easy pudding pie in order to use up the last of my Jello pudding. From now on it will be made from scratch. I used the "recipe" on the back of the pudding box. I made cake from scratch earlier in the week, I'm tired as it's been a super long week, and so consequently, wanted easy. If you're looking for a delicious pie, however, you must make this one from Aunt Ruthie. It is seriously so good!

Do you write letters and/or make pies for their respective holiday's?

22 January 2015

Je suis Charlie

Edith Piaf is a favorite French singer. If you would like to hear modern French songs, search for former First Lady Carla Bruni.

 On the morning of the attacks in Paris I emailed my cousin, whom lives there, to see if she is okay. She responded:
"Thanks for worrying... Everything is fine here.

It has been a weird week, but actually most of Paris is operating as usual. 

That magazine had been under threat for years, so, as tragic as it was, the attack wasn't completely surprising. I'm sure that there will be a lot of heated public debate, but I doubt that we'll see more violent attacks like that."

About an hour later she emailed:
"I stand corrected...there is a hostage situation about 5 minutes away from me...

The French police are really good at these sorts of operations, so I'm not particularly worried." 

My first thought was oh my goodness! My second thought was, wow, she's really confident about the French police. 

I asked her which situation is near her and if she still okay. Her response was:

"We're a few minutes west of the kosher supermarket. I've been working from home today and listened to sirens and helicopters all day. The circus appears to be over, so we hope to have a quiet weekend."

A few days ago (we had emails about personal matters in between) she emailed me this:


So, things have been quieter, but there is a lot of police work happening to track down accomplices and their weapon sources. The political and social debates are raging on, but that's pretty normal here."

I'm so glad that she is safe and I hope that everyone involved is captured. According to expat bloggers they seem happy with John Kerry's speech, but I'm not going to say that I wasn't embarrassed that one of our senior officials was not present for the March. I hope that any French readers that visit here know that Americans support you all! 

21 January 2015


For Today
January 21, 2015

Outside my window... the sun is shining brightly with nary a cloud in the sky. The trees are swaying gently. A chickadee is on the bird feeder. The temperatures have been 60+ the last few days. Unfortunately we will be back in the 40's and 50's the next week or so. I'm very thankful for the flip flop wearing days we've had recently.

I am thinking... that lowering my Mountain Dew consumption isn't fun. I'm substituting with sweet tea and coffee, but I'm not sure how much less of sugar I'm consuming. The only difference is that it is not HFCS, which is good, but in actual grams, I'm not sure the increase in reflux is worth the non-HFCS. 

I am thankful... that in my 30+ years, a majority of my memories are happy ones.

I am wearing... navy leggings, baggy navy and white gingham OCBD, hair down, Georgia necklace, tortoise and gold watch, (when I leave I will add sweater jacket and nude flats). 

I am creating... a vegetable filled menu plan.

I am going... to run errands as soon as B gets back with the car- Target and Trader Joe's.

I am wondering... if white gloves will ever need to be worn again. Miss Janice tweeted today that wearing gloves while drinking tea is a faux pas. I would so heart it.

I am reading... Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good (affiliate link) by Jan Karon, Garden & Gun magazine, and another book (see below).

I am hoping... to begin swimming again next month. Hopefully the gym won't be so crowded.

I am learning... to tidy with help from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Anna mentioned it on her blog a few months ago. I'm slowly getting through the tiny book. It's really good though.

Around the house... finding spots to put my stock of cosmetics and bath products. I purchased several little tubs, but where to put these tubs is finding much trouble. Someday I hope to have a little space. 

In the kitchen... breakfast was leftover cornbread and jam; lunch is salad; dinner is going to be baked beans, roasted carrots, and kale salad; leftover pudding pie for dessert.

A favorite quote for today... "To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose." Marie Kondo

One of my favorite things... drinking sweet tea in blue or green Mason jars.

A few plans for this week: celebrating M's acceptance into her school of choice with her favorite cake, working, reading, and church.

A peek into one of my days from this week... 
Trader Joe's carrot trio pre-peel and roast. Aren't they gorgeous?

20 January 2015

"Putting Up"

"Strawberry preserves, squash pickles, tomatoes, sour cucumber pickles, vanilla peaches, muscadine shrub, fig and lemon preserves, frozen corn and butterbeans, blueberry chutney, pear preserves, grape jelly, green tomato chow chow, and watermelon rind pickles."

Vivian Howard on what she put up for winter in Taste of the South Jan/Feb 2015 issue.

15 January 2015

Are you a slave?

I love this quote from Yes Please by Amy Poehler. She's funny of course (Big Lama?! Ha!), but there is something poignant here as well. Are we slaves to our phones/iPads/computers? When I heard about the iWatch, I thought maybe, just maybe, we are just a little too addicted if we need to have our phone on our watch a la George Jetson. 

There's so many ways to talk to someone now. Traditional phone, texting, Google Hangout, Skype, FaceTime, texting, emailing, that human contact is not necessary. Being in the same room with someone is almost weird. I've mentioned in the past that my sister and I have a complete text message relationship except for the few times a year we see each other. Increasingly, it's becoming that way with just about anyone. I email Will's teachers and my boss and use social media to communicate with pretty much everyone else. 

Technology is so powerful. It has the power to lift up and destroy in seconds. I am a social media addict. Mr. makes cracks about my addiction to Twitter and Pinterest. I get my news and "talk" to a majority of my friends on Twitter, and Pinterest makes me feel like Super Housewife. Yet, technology can break down people. Cyber bullying, enough said. Cyber terrorism would not be possible without the world wide web (does anyone else think of AOL when hearing www then automatically think of You've Got Mail?). Insecurities abound as trying to live up to the Jones' are not the next door neighbors necessarily, but what everyone puts on Instagram or Facebook. I would hate to be a teenager nowadays. My oldest struggled with this immensely as we live in an affluent area, but are not exactly rolling in the dough. He felt insecure. I understand that to an extent here on my minuscule (yet important to me) corner of the web. When I don't get comments, or a certain number of readers, I feel that I'm not good enough. This machine has that much power over me, or is it that my son and I allow it to have that much power?

So, should we throw away our gadgets? Maybe, but I don't think that's going to stop cyber bullying or terrorists. We can decide how to let it make us feel. We can decide how often we are on Facebook. We can have technology free weekends, etc. But those are only small parts of what the Big Lama was saying. We need to have compassion. We can leave our iPhones/BlackBerrys/Galaxys in the car and take our grandmother to tea or help build a house, etc. I think technology is awesome, oh the power of Googling a song you're trying to remember the name of or the best hot cocoa recipe. But as long as we allow ourselves to be slaves, we will be insecure slaves that have the choice to do something to help someone else. In Proverbs there's a verse about being slave to the lender. We are both the slave and the lender as we buy technology and allow ourselves to be addicted.

14 January 2015

New Sephora Items

Last year I put on my goals to wear more than pajamas, wear makeup, fix my hair, and paint my nails more often. I've done much better, but want to continue to be more consistent about it. My daughter worked at Sephora during Christmas as a part-time second job. She loves makeup so it was a perfect part-time job. For Christmas (and with help from her Grandpa) she bought me these items that I had been wanting:
DryBar products are my favorite hair products. A salon recently opened up not more than 15 minutes from me and I am excited to try it out. We are getting our family pictures made in a few months, so I think that will be the perfect time. In the meantime, I loaded up on their dry shampoo. Target has been out of stock on my favorite inexpensive one, so I stocked up on DryBar with her discount until Target's is back. I use dry shampoo once or twice a week as I only wash my hair every 2-3 days. I'm currently on my third day so dry shampoo was needed this morning. 

I'm excited for M to do a makover on me to show me how to best apply my new eyeshadows. She lives for this kind of thing. Combined we make a great Cher Horowitz (her, hair and make up, me, clothes and accessories).

09 January 2015

our christmas celebration

Now that it is freezing, literally, I think it is the perfect time to listen to Christmas music, again, and share with y'all our celebrations. So, if you're feeling like you're in Antartica, grab some coffee (or cocoa or tea, etc) and hang out with me for a few minutes as I share our holiday with y'all.

For the first time in five years, my husband and I decided that we were going to go to my parents house for Christmas. Let's face it, at 95 I don't know how many more Christmases we will have with Nana, as well as my cousins and aunts and uncles. When the matriarch and patriarch pass, it's less likely that the siblings and their children will get together for holidays. This was proven to me this year when no one got together since Muzzie and Papaw passed.

So, we went and had the best time! Anne decided not to go with us, which I was bummed about, but I told her that she can't ask me to choose between my last living grandmother and her, and she didn't. Anne insisted that we go. So, 3 days before Christmas we celebrated with her at home.
She and Will opened their annual Christmas pajamas. Mother began this tradition when my sister and I were young and I've continued it.
Will was allowed to open his stocking.
Here A is finding out that we are paying for half of her school and she begins crying.
I think she had a great Christmas, well, early Christmas. I don't think she was too thrilled with spending the actual day on her own, but she understood why.

So, on the 23rd, we drove up to my parents. Traffic was horrible and it was raining the whole way. Poor Mr. was struggling the whole way to see, and my have had wine that night. (he did.) We went to see Nana alone on Christmas Eve. It was so nice to have one on one time with her. Then we took our time going back to my parents and enjoyed the countryside that we rarely see here in the big city. Mom made delicious dinner and we watched Christmas shows. On Christmas morning, Will woke up to his presents. All were for his online gaming...mouse pad, headphones, Steam cards, etc.
(Mom's tree is so pretty!) 
After presents and breakfast, we went to Nana's. It was so nice to see everyone. It's fun to see all of the great-grands playing with eachother. 
Nana and my niece
My sister and Nana.
Mom and her babies (my sister and I no longer count, ha!)

I don't want to share pictures of other family members as they may not want to have them on here.

The next day Mother and I met with my old Girl Scout trip that I was in for 11 years. Afterward, Mr. and I went to my aunt's to get Christmas presents and see her new house. It is EVERYTHING that I would want. 

My sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and niece came over for dinner and to open presents as a family. It was such fun! 
And, per our tradition, after eating and presents, we watch our old family movies. The "kids" love seeing themselves as kids.
This is Alex and Will.

This was an unusual Christmas in that Alex is deployed and Anne was working so neither could come with us. Add that it was the first Christmas without Muzzie or Papaw and without everyone seeing eachother on that side of the family. Still, it was a wonderful Christmas that I will always remember. I hope yours was too.

07 January 2015

thank you notes.

I don't believe it is because I have lived in the South my entire existence, but I think thank you notes are just emphasized more down here. Mother taught my sister and I to write thank you notes for everything. I guarantee her thank you note is in the mail. I'm working on mine tonight. This made me think, why should anyone send a note? For what occassion should they be sent? Are they necessary in today's world?

  1. When do you thank anyone? For doing something nice for you, primarily, whether it's help you move, buy you a present, or schedule a meeting. You should send a thank you note within 24 hours of an interview, 2 weeks for a gift unless it's a wedding gift then within 6 weeks of your wedding date, but if someone helped you move then send them a pizza that night with thank you written on the lid!
  2. Any time someone spends their hard earned money on you or their time, send a note.
  3. This is the real question, yes, they relevant in today's world. So many times you go to the mailbox to find bills, or maybe a magazine or catalog. How wonderful are the times that amongst the bills is a card or letter? The person that spent the money or time can show that they are appreciated by a simple thank you card.
What do you put in your card? First, you may say something about them such as it was nice being with you for Christmas, or your puppy is so cute, etc. Then you thank them for the present or time. Last if it is for a gift you would say how you'll use it or if it was time how you're looking forward to working with them.

Stationery, does it matter? What about pen?
  1. Personally, I do not care what kind of stationery is used. I've found many note cards and stationery from Michael's and Target. Something tasteful, but pretty. Now a paper's weight is a luxurious thing. Crane and Mrs. John Strong are my personal favorites, but again, they are not necessary.
  2. I like the feel of Sharpie pens and le pens. I prefer not to use a ballpoint for letter writing. If you have a fountain pen, then this is a good time to use it.
  3. I have a letter wax seal that I love. I picked it up at Colonial Williamsburg, but have been remiss to send it in the mail for fear it would not make it through the automatic sorter. However, a friend of mine sent her wedding invitations using the seal and they worked. 
Do you write thank you notes for Christmas gifts?

05 January 2015

Menu Plan Monday


For the first week of the year, one would think that I would be leaning towards nothing but leaves, but nope. The highs will only be in the 30's and 40's with lows in the 20's and teens (for 1 night). So, I'm leaning towards warm, yet healthy, foods. Leaves will be on the plan, but they don't warm one up. Soups are healthy unless made with cream and warm so this will be featured twice this week. I want to set up more of a plan on the days of the week such as Meatless Monday, Taco (or Mexican of some sort) Tuesday, Crockpot Wednesday, Fish Friday, Turkey (poultry) Thursday, Sippin' Saturday, Salad Sunday. This is just an idea that I'm fooling around with. Do any of y'all do something like this?

Sunday- chicken wings and salad

Monday- black bean soup and cornbread

Tuesday- taco casserole*

Wednesday- crockpot meatballs, brown rice, broccoli

Thursday- pesto chicken, salad, gluten freen rolls

Friday- roasted salmon and asparagus (leftovers or salad for me).

Saturday- pumpkin soup and sausage cheddar muffins

* Taco Casserole

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1 medium yellow onion
1 pound ground beef

Saute until onion soft and beef no longer pink, drain.

While the meat is cooking combine in a little bowl or ramekin:

1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1.5 tsp. ground cumin
.5 tsp. paprika
.25 tsp. dried oregano
.25 red pepper flakes
.25 onion flakes or powder
.25 garlic powder

After draining the meat, put the meat back in the pan then add the spices and combine. Immediately add 2/3 cup of water. Cook down until the water has evaporated, stir here and there.

While that is cooking, butter (or Pam) a 13x9 dish. Place a layer of tortilla chips on the bottom of the dish then top with a can of refried black beans (I get mine at Trader Joe's and they have jalapenos in it). Add the meat and top with about a cup of shredded cheese. You can add a drained can of roasted tomatoes and corn if you like. I prefer to use salsa so I usually leave these off, but it's a thought. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. 

02 January 2015

2015 (so weird to write that) Goals

 I love doing these posts every year. That's my favorite part of blogging...documentation of family life. I don't post everything, especially pictures and anecdotes of my bonus children, but I do post what is happening in my personal life. What are my personal goals? What am I hoping to do? Did I follow up with those goals? I'll admit that I do not always follow up on the blog or IRL. I found the above picture, and for the most part, this is my list. I'm not going to break it up by category as I have in the past, but just bullet point it.

  • First and foremost, get a new job. My contract is up for my current job in March, and I do not think it will be renewed, or if it is renewed, my income will be reduced. Ultimately, it isn't something I enjoy doing anyhow. So, as of next month, I will be job searching so that we won't lose any income in March. I'm so excited! I'm ready to get a job!
  • Finish paying off my student loans 
  • I'm not going to say that I want to go to the gym or that I'm going to work out every day. I won't lie. Yes, I'm going to get a gym membership so that I can swim until the pool in my neighborhood opens up, but I'm not going to promise to go all of the time. My goal is to go 3 days a week, more when my husband is out of town as we share a car.
  • Read one fiction and one non-fiction book a week.
  • Give up Mountain Dew
  • Write love notes to husband 
  • Keep the house more tidy (more on this in another post!)
  • Continue to purchase, or make, quality clothing that fits properly.
  • No gadgets passed 9 pm and one week a month of no social media.
  • Crochet, knit, sew, learn calligraphy (these are just wants but I'm putting them here anyhow)

As you can see, my list isn't that much. I want to spend time with my son as these days are truly numbered. Of course I'll eat real food and I've given up fast food so that's just a given. I drink lots of water. Overall, I'm pretty healthy minus my exercise, which is dreadful right now. But I really need to focus on making money and being with my family. Everything else is secondary.

What are your goals? 

P.S. If you would like to read my other years lists they are here: 2013, 2014.


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