Last weekend I happened across one of those tv shows on organization. I was intrigued. I am always looking for tips to better organize my life; so I thought, why not? I confess this particular show merely stressed me out. In fairness there were good tips but I couldn’t get past the basic disaster of the house. More than anything it made me think of my Mom. I know there is the old saying that as you grow up you become your parent. In this case, I think I’m proud of that. My Mom had a beautiful home always perfectly maintained, her own business that she impeccably ran, as well as filling the role of mother and wife of fifty plus years. In the days where women are supposed to have it all and do it all, she did and made it seem effortless. It’s made me ask the question of how did she do it all? It’s not like she was exhausted or gave up her own life. She did do it all. So how? I think the secret is in the rules she imposed as I grew up. So Mom’s rules –
- Make your bed when you get out of it in the morning. It only takes a second and it is done for the day.
- Where is the item’s home? It is easier to put [name whatever it is – laundry, dishes, books, paper] it in its proper place the first time rather than moving it multiple times. Another variation on this rule is where does it live? Everything should have its proper place and be put in it before you go to bed at night.
- Hang up your towels.
- Dirty laundry in the hamper.
- Hang up your clothes when you take them off.
- Fold the laundry as you take it out of the dryer. It has less wrinkles that way. For those things that you only partially dry, alter this rule to fold the laundry when dry.
- Leave the room straight when you are finished for the day. That means everything back where it came from with dishes in the dishwasher, blankets folded and put away, remotes in their proper place.
- Deal with mail when you take it out of the mailbox.
- Have a clean sink when you go up to bed or no dirty dishes in the sink.
- If it does not fit or you never wear it, donate it to someone who can use it.
These are the rules Mom imposed on our daily life. It worked for her and it seems to work for me. Are there rules that you live by that permit you to organize your life?
To state the obvious, I have mastered the art of online shopping. I am on a first name basis with the Fed Ex guy as he visits me on a regular basis. What’s not to love? You visit Amazon.com click and the next thing you know it is at your front door. Now if I could just have Fresh Direct in my part of the country so I never had to visit the grocery again, life would be perfect – right?
Not so quick. This week the WSJ had a lovely article about lunch/tea rooms in the iconic New York department stores. I love a great lunch room. Nordstroms has great food so you never have to leave the store. Bergdorf Goodman has my favorite lunch spot on the 7th floor. What could be better than looking out over Central Park from the 7th floor of BG’s? Still, brick and mortar is struggling with relevance. This was brought home yesterday. I finally had a weekend where I was made to do errands. I decided to bite the bullet and struck out to eradicate my “to do” list. These were things where I wanted to touch and see what my options were. While online is lovely sometimes you need to be there to try it on or see it in person, to consider your options. It was so frustrating to be told “we don’t have it in the store but you can order it online”. The fifth time I was told that in the third store, I wanted to scream! If I wanted to order it online I would not be out in the freezing cold and rain!
I don’t know what the answer is and I’m sympathetic to the business case regarding the cost of inventory. Of course it is easier to have a larger selection online to complement what is offered in the store. But, and you knew there was a but coming, if you have it on display, should you not have it in stock? Just a thought . . .
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Family and friends gather to visit and give thanks, at least in my family. This year I am going solo. After changing jobs and moving, the usual family Thanksgiving seemed out of reach this year.
Growing up Thanksgiving was originally a trip to Charleston where my Grandmother cooked for twenty plus. Turkey, ham, oysters, green bean casserole, rice and gravy, dressing, squash, ambrosia, and apple pie were on the table. I recall being taught how to polish silver and set the table as my contribution and wash the dishes after dinner.
Somewhere along the line we moved to Thanksgiving at my Mother’s. We always attended a Moravian Love Feast on Wednesday night. This was a community event with members of the church neighborhood participating. The President’s proclamation was always read, coffee and a bun served, and there is one memorable sermon that I will always recall. My Dad and I left the service under my Mother’s critical eye – as if we were both two. The sermon used the refrain “over the river and through the woods”, unfortunately in my and my Dad’s opinion we went over the river one time too many. Back home it was preparation for the big dinner the next day. Silver was polished, the table set, the turkey prepped. The menu was similar to that in Charleston, after all my Mom learned from her Mom. Ice box rolls and broccoli casserole were added at some point as an homage to my Dad’s side of the family and a coconut cream cake made an appearance. Baked apples became part of the main course. The family was slightly smaller and Mom served twelve to fifteen rather than twenty plus.
Then Thanksgiving came to my house. Tradition is tradition. I’ve cooked for five and for twelve. I have fried turkey and baked it in a bag. The menu varies based on the number eating but is the one I learned from my Grandmother. The silver is now handed down to me as is the china. While I don’t have a Love Feast in my town, there is a community service that is reminiscent of those I attended growing up.
What I will always cherish is my family, gathered together for a few days. The main dinner was delicious and fun. Mom and Grandmom were amazing cooks; but the turkey sandwich that followed our 2PM meal was as good, if not better, as it was with family. It was at these gatherings that I learned about my Mom’s escapades growing up and how to cook. I remain thankful for the many holidays with family who are now scattered near and far.
Happy Thanksgiving! May your holiday be shared with those that love you.
My love affair with the beach began while I was still in diapers. Born in Eastern North Carolina with a Dad who grew up spending summers frequenting Cherry Grove, Myrtle Beach and OD and a Mom who spent her childhood summers in pluff mud, salt marshes along Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach, it was natural that I’d be whisked to the Atlantic Ocean before I could walk. So what do I pack for a day at the beach?
The chair is key. I love a good sand chair, one that is perfect to sit in the water with the tide. Umbrella and straw mat are other necessities. I typically grab a grass mat at the local beach store. They tend to cost around $3.00 and are great for lying on to sunbathe. They also serve as a place for the cooler, beach bag and other assorted items to avoid dumping everything in the sand. As gorgeous as the Carolina coast is with that sugar white sand, I try to avoid bringing it home with me.
Next up is a cooler packed with ice, drinks, sandwiches and a spray bottle of water. There is nothing better to cool off with than ice water. I love Evian but there are multiple options that include just a drugstore pump spray filled with water. I keep a bottle of Evian in the refrigerator so I always have one cold for tennis and the beach or pool.
My beach bag filled to the brim with all those things one needs – sunglasses, sunscreen, towels, goldfish, my kindle and my iPod. This year I’ve got a new beach bag, the Goyard Belharra. I am loving it. It is easy to stuff with everything I want for a day walking along the beach, reading in the sun, and swimming in the ocean. See my post from last summer for What’s in My Beach Bag.
Do you have a go to sunscreen? My favorite sunscreen has not been available for the last few summers and I continue to seek out the perfect sunscreen. I’m fanatical about applying sunscreen. My Dad was the quintessential southern outdoor guy – hunting, fishing, golf, tennis, gardening – you get the idea. He also had several skin cancers removed when I was a teen. From that point on, hats and fifty sunscreen with titanium dioxide became the routine.
I’m no expert on sunscreen and know next to nothing about what makes one better than the other. The titanium dioxide was a recommendation for my Dad from his doctor. I am also prone to what my Mom calls sun poising – little bumps around my knees and on my hands after prolonged time in the sun. Given my love for the beach, pool, and tennis court, prolonged time in the sun was a given for me in the summers. I quickly discovered there were some sunscreens that seemed to exacerbate this condition. I also tend to like a product specifically designed for the face for my face. This means I typically purchase a 30 and 50 for the face and a 30 and a 50 for the rest of me. I also like a spray rather than a lotion. With this in mind, I recently went shopping at Blue Mercury. I opted for two old but goodies, and two new to try.
For the new – Moroccan Oil 50 – This one is a spray lotion. It sprays out but you have to rub it in. I like it but it is much more lotion than spray. The other new is Soleil. I purchased the spray version in 50 and a lotion version in 30. I love the spray. It has great coverage and stays after swimming. The downside is that I went through a bottle a day on the beach. That is a bit pricy given how much sunscreen I go through.
The tried but true include Coola and Supergoop. I love the Coola spray. The face lotion and lip balm also get a thumbs up from me. Supergoop (no TD) is another go to from last summer but I’ve only tried the lotion version. I just picked up a spray mousse version that has strong possibilities. So, what is your favorite sunscreen?
Whatever else, remember the sunscreen and the hat! Protect yourself!
Summer to me is a gourmet paradise. The farmer’s markets are laden with fresh vegetables, cheeses, fruits and other delicacies. Tomatoes are my passion but there comes a time when you need something other than that ripe jucy tomato to eat. Eggs here we come! What is more southern than a deviled egg or an egg salad sandwich? When I think of picnics, summer concerts or the beach, a deviled egg or an egg salad sandwich is the first thing that comes to mind.
Both recipes are super easy. Boil your eggs until they are hard-boiled. Pour off the hot water and immerse the eggs in an ice bath to make them easy to peel. Then peal away the shell.
For deviled eggs, slice in half and remove the yolks to a bowl. Then mash the cooked yolks and add salt and pepper to taste. Then add mustard and a bit of mayo also to taste. Stir together with a fork and then stuff each half of the white. Top with a bit of paprika for a fancy occasion.
Egg salad is a derivative of this. If you made deviled eggs for dinner and had too many, simply mash them with a fork and you have egg salad. If you are starting from scratch, slice the boiled eggs into a bowl and then mask with a fork or a potato masher. Add salt, pepper, mustard and mayo, then stir. Serve the egg salad on white bread for that true southern flavor.