entertaining · Family · Gift Giving · Home

The Perfect Gift

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This post is credited to my sister from another mother also known as my cousin who is inspired as well as this amazing, cool, wonderful, person.

This past weekend I  enjoyed a long overdue girls weekend with my cousin.  We both have fall birthdays and decided it was time to catch up, lounge around, and play some tennis.  She arrived at my house with  a lovely birthday gift.  As she explained “her madness” behind the gift, I started smiling.  Per her usual brilliance, she hit this one out of the park.

My gift was a basket of her favorite things.  Absolutely brilliant!  She was sharing something of herself with me.  That alone brought this huge smile to my face.  She lives too far away and we keep up via text and phone and visits but this basket brought things into my everyday life that I will use after she’s gone home.  She is leaving something of herself behind and every time I pick up  something from the basket I’ll think of her and feel her with me.

I always struggle with gift giving.  I spend hours thinking of what that perfect gift is.  Cous knocked it out of the park making the answer to that question so simple.  Give something of yourself!  What a wonderful life lesson.

So the next time you need to find that special birthday, hostess, Christmas, house-warming or other gift, ask yourself – what are my favorite things?

So what was in the basket?  First, the basket itself is simply beautiful.  I’m filling it with reading material and it will sit beside my favorite chair.  Cousin’s favorite candle with the scent of dessert.  Books on Charleston!  Our common ancestors are from the Holy City and we’ve spent much time visiting there over the years.  The beach, the market, the food and fun.  What a wonderful addition and it will fit in with my reading basket.  Lotion and material for my pamper Sundays and last but not least, the purse light she knew I coveted!

P.S.  Everyone who has a tote or hobo bag should have one of the purse lights.  They are amazing and you can find stuff that otherwise hides from you in your bag.

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Family · Home · Travel

The Quadruped

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Are you a cat or a dog person?  I’m a dog gal.  No offense intended to cat lovers but I’m violently allergic to the little darlings so dogs are for me!

My first pet was a gift for my fifth birthday.  He was supposed to arrive in November but finally arrived in January, in the middle of a snow storm.  He was appropriately named Snowball.  I cherished Snowball.  He was the perfect companion and, upon returning home after my first semester of college, I was devastated  to learn Snowball was gone to Doggie Heaven.

For the first time in my memory, we were dogless. Even my Dad’s hunting dogs had gone to that great Dove field in the sky.  Fast forward to my second year of law school, another birthday, and Dad arrived bearing this wonderful, wiggling gift of a black and tan dachshund.  It was love at first sight.  Tippy saw me through the remainder of law school, the bar exam, and my first years of practice.  He was my constant companion.

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My current quadruped is Kenan.  She is a beautiful, miniature dachshund of the English cream, long-haired variety.  She loves a good cuddle and believes herself to be three times her actual size.  In otherwords, she is a typical dachshund.  A constant companion, she possesses the tenacity of the breed and with surgical skill immediately removes any squeaker from a toy.  She is a toy hound and is frequently found with the carcass of what was once a stuffed toy in her mouth.

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Did I mention that she is a frequent traveling companion?  She is an excellent flyer.  Never a peep from her while on Delta.  She enjoys a ride in her stroller around the market in Charleston or a walk in White Point Gardens near the Battery.  Even better is a run down the beach or playing tag with the waves, an evening walk around the neighborhood, or a Sunday hike.   She is a blessing in every sense of the word.

 

As for me, what is better than the joy of being loved by such a wonderful quadruped!

 

Fashion · Home · Skin care

Do you pamper yourself?

 

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Each week I look forward to Sunday and Sunday night, specifically.   I set aside Sunday nights to indulge and pamper and generally get ready to face the week.  It might be something as simple as watching Downton Abby – uninterrupted-  a bubble bath, a glass of wine and soft music, a long walk on a beautiful evening, a new book I’ve been dying to read, or curling up with the latest magazines.  You get the picture, something relaxing, something fun that I enjoy, something I’ve not had time to do all week.

Tonight I’m going to have a bowl of chicken chili with a glass of red wine.  I’m planning a long hot bath along with my usual Sunday night skin care routine and last, but not least, a couple of episodes of Madam Secretary.  I can’t get enough of the show.

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My Sunday night skin care routine is the definition of indulgent.  I pamper my skin. A few years shy of eighty, my Mother has the most beautiful skin.  She’s never worn a lot of make up but she always took care of her skin.  I’m attempting to follow in her footsteps.  My first “holy grail” of skin care is eye cream morning and night.  I alternate between La Prairie and M-61 power glow eye cream but for Sunday night I opt for Sisley’s eye contour mask.  The mask is a once a week thing for me and it is decadent.  It is also the night to exfoliate. For my face, I opt for Channel’s Gommage Microperle Eclat exfoliant and for the body, Jo Malone’s vitamin E body treatment scrub.  Last, but not least, is a conditioning mask for my hair.  I opt for Moroccainoil intense hydrating mask.  It makes my hair feel soft and healthy the entire week.  I end with either Kiehl’s creme de corps or Jo Malone’s pomegranate body cream.

Now I’m ready to face Monday!

entertaining · Family · Home

Do you binge watch?

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So I will admit that I am a binge watcher.  It seems like my nights are crazy and I always miss whatever popular show is on that night or I’m too tired to enjoy what is on or I’m multi-tasking which means I’m really not enjoying or paying attention to what is on the tube.  I think I just confessed that multi-tasking is a bad idea.  So given that I fail at multi-tasking or miss the best part  because I’m falling asleep, I’ve come up with my own coping mechanism.  You will be familiar with it as I confess that it is not original – I DVR and Netflix.  Yeah for lack of originality, but if a solution works, it works and these days I’ll take all the help I can get.

My DVR and Netflix lists probably need some updating.  Right now lists are programmed to include:

  1. Blue Bloods;
  2. Madam Secretary;
  3. Masterpiece theater;
  4. Miss Fisher mysteries; and
  5. Perry Mason, I know it is ancient but I have fond memories of watching re-runs of it with my Mom.

My list is not long and doubtlessly needs something fresh.  I’m thinking the new PBS movie on Vietnam is up for addition but what else?  Suggestions are welcome!  What is on your Netflix list?

Decorating · Family · Home · interior design

A change of seasons

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Yesterday I looked down at my calendar and saw the notation, “first day of autumn”.  It’s been cool here in Virginia, somewhat unusually so for the beginning of September, but it also cues a sense of anticipation, of something new to come.  I love the fall, but then again, I love winter, spring, and summer.  The change of the seasons feels like a right of passage.

I enjoy fall for its crisp cool nights, change of leaves, the fall fruits and veggies like the squash and apples I find at the farmer’s market.  What is more fun than a corn maze, mums on the front porch, or  a ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the height of leaf color?  As the days grow shorter and the weather cooler there is a sense of an ending as is appropriate for fall and the approach of winter.  The anticipation of spring will soon follow and start the cycle over again.

Growing up I heard stories of my grandmother changing the curtains and rugs for summer and then back again at the start of fall.  Something of that rubbed off for me.  I tend to “decorate” for Easter, fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and, of course, Christmas.  Nothing as elaborate as Christmas, but seasonal centerpieces for each holiday.  So, this week I pulled out my velvet pumpkins for the dining room table.  The geraniums I’d lovingly planted in containers on the front porch at the beginning of spring were on their last leg.  It was time to freshen up the front door with mums for fall.

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As I write this, I’m also making my “must do” list for the fall.

 

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  1. Gather a group of friends and fin a corn maze to explore.
  2. Take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and remember to bring my camera.
  3. Take 29 from Charlottesville to Lynchburg for a drive for leaves and fresh apples.
  4. Find a pumpkin patch and bring home fun pumpkins.
  5. Pull out my ceramic jack o’ lanterns for the front porch.
  6. Plan a movie night for all my favorite scares movies, calling John Carpenter!
  7. Football and tailgate Saturday, bonus points if I can arrange it for Kenan stadium.
  8. Cook up a pot of Brunswick stew.
  9. Change out my closet for warm clothes.

What is on your must do list for the fall?

Business · Home · Organization

Routine?

Do you have a routine?  I recently realized that I do.  On the pro side of the equation, it helps.  I’m busy.  I have a job, a house, a family to care for and time is scarce.  On the con side, sometimes I feel constricted by my routine.  I’ve also found that I’m a creature of habit so the routine helps.  Amazon prime is a lifesaver and I can’t wait for the day when I can order my groceries online and have them appear at my house within a specified hour.  The reminder list app on my Iphone is my savior.  I keep a running grocery list, a life “to do” list with reminder dates and times and other lists for work, professional, and volunteer organizations.  The best suggestion I’ve ever received is to create a reminder with a date and time when I read an email.

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My routine tends to go something like:

Sunday:  church, cook a pot of something either for the freezer or to eat for the rest of the week, yoga class, or track, or hike with the fur children depending upon the time of year and the weather,  pay bills and answer any correspondence that came during the week, gather laundry for the cleaners, iron, class prep for Monday.  Much to the pup’s dismay, this also tends to be bath day.  Continuing a tradition from childhood, this is also the day I reach out to family and friends for a chat and catch up.  I like talking, so brunch with friends or a mid afternoon chat over the phone, is a delight.   If I’m very lucky, I can squeeze in a nap or a movie or something fun for an hour or two.  I always end the day with a long hot bath where I can relax and start the week off on a good note.

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Monday – Thursday:  work from 8 to ???, exercise class two nights a week, write my blog posts for the next week, catch up on life maintenance that can’t wait for the weekend and catch up on work maintenance that didn’t get done during the day. Update my “to do” lists for the next day, the week, and weekend and answer all emails received before 11PM.

Friday:  work, dinner with friends or tennis, Netflix evening.

Saturday:  check on Mom, tennis, laundry, grocery shopping and errands, house maintenance.    Fresh flowers are a Saturday thing for me.  I love the brightness that a vase of flowers brings to the house so I usually pick up flowers at the grocery store and arrange them for the kitchen table.  Glass of wine at night and time to relax with a good book.

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What is your routine?

Home · Organization · Travel · Uncategorized

Organizing my makeup drawer

I’m on an organizing mission these days.  The back to school, end of summer, beginning of fall is propelling me to get done those things that have languished on my to do list far too long. On top of that list is cleaning out my makeup drawer.  Makeup has a shelf life, especially mascara and eye liner.  One guideline for mascara and liquid eye liner is three to six months once opened.  Lip gloss has a similar time line.  Lipstick is a bit longer at six months.  The danger here is bacteria which may cause infection.  Since I wear contact lens, I’m very careful about my eye health and don’t care to take chances with my makeup.  So, about every four months, I do a thorough clean out of my makeup drawer.  The best part of this exercise is that everything is organized for ease of use and I have a clean space.  This cuts down on my searching for something when I’m getting ready for work in the morning.  Since I’m a night owl and not a morning person, this is a direct benefit to me.

 

The before:

 

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Not only do I throw away products near their expiration dates, I also clean out the clutter.  This means that eyeshadow that I thought I’d love but really don’t gets thrown out as clutter.  I also wash my brushes.  In the end I make a list of the things I need to replace.  I generally buy my products from Carmen at the Chanel counter at Bergdorf Goodman.  She is absolutely wonderful.  She lets me know when there is a gift card event and is wonderful to send samples for travel.

 

The after:

 

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