Tuesday, September 30, 2008



For months and months I've been planning to carry these FABULOUS posters and just hadn't gotten around to getting them up and on the site for sale.

THEN BOOM! Over the last week or so it would seem the economic world as we know it is crashing in around us all. Then, yesterday's serious slide of the market down 700+ points....

Could there be a more pertinent, well-said reminder for us all?

A couple of things about this poster (really a public service announcement for England during WWII) are amazing:

1.) It is but one out of a series of posters commissioned to be displayed throughout Britain when World War II broke out. It was essentially a message from King George VI to his subjects, reassuring them that all possible measures were being taken to ensure the defense of the country. Sort of an encapsulated statement epitomizing that wonderful British "stiff upper lip" approach to things.
Its simple message is possibly more relevant to life today than it was then. But you know what? For some reason, this particular PSA was barely put before the public.
The poster was held in reserve for use only in times of extreme crisis. Although thousands were produced, only a handful ever saw the light of day
Its as though it was supposed to be held for us now.

2.) This poster is just sky-rocketing in popularity -- being found now on any number of objects, from mugs to totebags to pendants! But this, my friends, is basically as close to the original as you will get apart from uncovering an original vintage stash. The red color is the original, authentic color. The poster is now available in a myriad of colors (which we will also be offering) but red was the original. A real attention-getter, to be sure!

So, this simple but eloquent declaration, never seen by the generation it was intended for, is now not only very much of-the-moment in terms of our current "situation" but it is also fast on its way to becoming the next decor "craze" (not sure I like that term, but...).

We're expecting delivery of the posters within days (FROM THE UK!) and as soon as they're in, we'll get them up on the site straight away!

The posters measure 23.5" tall x 16.5 wide and will come rolled and unframed.

ALSO COMING SOON....Be on the look-out for other VERY HIP prints and framable notecards!! YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE YOUR EYES!!! :)
One last little thing...as you watch the events around you (economically, politically, whatever) unfold on the news each night, just keep it all in perspective. No matter what is swirling around you that would seek to cause you to panic, worry, be dispairing, it pales in comparison to all that you no doubt DO have that can't be taken away. Enjoy your family, every day. Maybe even choose to turn OFF the news occasionally.
Give someone a extra smile -- maybe a stranger in the grocery store trying to figure out which item to take back out of the cart so they don't break this week's budget. Look around, they're everywhere -- people who will stop dead in their tracks because you just simply looked them in the eye and warmly smiled. Try it.
You get just one time around, only get one shot at this -- one chance to find out the one thing that you don't want to miss.
One ride, one try, one life to love...
Share some love today -- surely someone out there who's watched too much news needs an extra dose. :)



Last evening while I was in the kitchen fixing dinner, our old friend "Ally" made an appearance just outside my window on the bank of our pond. "Ally" is one of the alligators living in the pond on our property and as best as I can tell, it is now a pretty "healthy" 7 or 8 feet long. You could say its our version of "Nessie" the Loch Ness Monster -- elusive and somewhat even of a myth. Ahh...but now I have proof!!

Its been a while since I've gotten a glimpse of the alligator that calls our pond "home" and its apparent that he/she is eating well. The last time I saw it, it was quite a bit smaller and it appears there is something in the pond that is sustaining him/her!

I'm also sure that this is not the only alligator we have out there -- and I'm pretty sure that it knows when we are looking at it because without exception, every time we see it, go to get the camera or decide to walk outside to get a closer look, it inevitably turns around and slides back into the water. No lie -- everytime! I feel like a member of the paparazzi, running through the house to find my camera, only to find the alligator gone by the time I get back to the window... So, even though these pics are blurry, at least I got them this time!


And, trust me, we keep an eye on our sweet dog, Nick, whenever he goes outside. Being a Lab, he's bred to love the water and he's been known to head straight for a swim in the pond. Since the appearance of the alligators a couple of years ago, we are vigilant about keeping him out of the pond! :)

Just thought I'd share a little bit of "Florida living" with you. And for those of you who find this whole alligator things horrifying, I do, too! But, I think I might be just as mortified to see a moose or a big bear or deer appear in my yard (if I lived up north), so I guess we all have our own regional "oddities". :)

On a totally different subject, we took in a HUGE new shipment yesterday and only unpacked it very late last night....I will be busy taking pics of all the new goodies (no more alligator pictures!) so I can get the things up on the site! Stay tuned!

Enjoy this fine, last day September!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Ladies, prepare to hand over your wallet to Kasey at Lola B Boutique...Its just that simple.

Either that, or just leave your credit card on file with her -- start a "tab" -- whatever. Just be forewarned, this store that's only been "live" online for a week now is going to take your pocketbook by storm! But beautifully so! :)

I have been waiting and waiting for this store to be available to those of us who aren't up in the Illinois area -- I've been reading
Kasey's blog as long as I can remember, drooling over the images of her sweet store on her blog, and now more and more of what she carries in the shop is appearing on her webstore! Even since I placed my order (just a few days ago) she's added MORE that I simply MUST have! (Oh dear, I wonder if hubby is reading this...).

As I just said, I only placed my order just a few days ago and what appeared on my front porch today?? I feel like singing "Got a package, got a package..."

When I opened it, the first big "WOW'S" were the beautiful and strong lavender scent (I bought some lavender-scented laundry soap -- and now I REALLY hope hubby isn't reading this...) and the beautiful presentation of the goodies.

I had already ripped open the "No Soliciting" sign before thinking to grab my camera, so its unwrapped, but I left the bag of laundry soap intact so you could get an idea of what awaits you when YOU order!

The little "Please No Soliciting" sign is just precious. If you have to basically tell someone to go away, this has to be the prettiest way to do it! (Just a note: I was in such a hurry to get the sign photographed, I didn't even stop to sweep up the porch -- well, what's a little dirt between friends, I ask you?)

I also can't wait to try the laundry soap. Wait. That means doing laundry. Well...like the little sign I bought, at least this fabby new soap will make an otherwise unpleasant task more beautiful! :) OH! And I also received a little lavender bud sachet -- to put in the dryer to match the lavender scent of my soap! LOVING THIS!!! I am actually looking for laundry to do around here and coming up empty-handed! Never thought I'd hear myself saying "Don't you people have any dirty clothes around here?"

On a related note, you'll notice from reading Kasey's blog that she was one of many other great shops from around the country who attended the Country Living Fair in Ohio a week or so ago and very soon I'll be doing a blog post devoted to an interview Kasey agreed to do with me all about her experience at the Fair. You WILL NOT WANT TO MISS THIS!!!!

If you are among the many shop owners who wanted to participate but for some reason couldn't (like me) this year,
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT
miss reading this upcoming interview with Kasey! Whenever you have the chance to learn from someone else's experience (hard knocks) its a crime not to do so! :)

Give Kasey's blog a read and
Lola B Boutique a look-see. And I say again, better just hand over that credit card now...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


This was the first sign (no pun intended) that we were officially almost there....little did we know the adventure awaiting us!!

Almost 6 hours later, we were there at last!! The gorgeous, gracious and historic Marshall House Inn. Immediately ready at the car door was THE most gracious, friendly and enthusiastic door man, Carlton. Yes -- "Carlton, The Door Man". He and the others were very likely the most friendly hotel staff we'd ever dealt with. Its worth a stay at The Marshall House just to be in the company of Carlton! :)
While getting us settled into our room, Carlton gave us the usual run-down given to guests upon check-in: where the a/c control was, list of amenities during our stay, etc., but what was not so "usual" was the list of 'don't say I didn't warn you' happenings that had supposedly occurred there over the years.... As I'd mentioned in the last post, I just so happened to innocently book us in what is known as one of Savannah's 'haunted inns' -- The Marshall house even having appeared on The Travel Channel's list of America's Most Haunted Destinations. So...our buddy Carlton is telling us about guests' windows being shut by themselves, several sitings of a "ghost cat" (SAY WHAT??) in the hotel by different guests during many different stays. Oh the list went on, but suffice to say, we got a good chuckle and bid Carlton good-day.
So....we are in the room NO MORE THAN TEN MINUTES, freshening up and about ready to leave again to go explore Savannah and get some dinner when the most obnoxious sound of a shrieking fire alarm cannot be ignored (believe me, we tried).
We thought surely it was a mistake and that it would go off any second. After enduring the ear-drum splitting sound for about a minute or so straight, my hubby phones the front desk and they AFFIRM -- the fire alarm was not accidentally set off and in fact the building is being evacuated.... What? A prankster ghost at work already?
We dutifully left our room and headed for the sidewalk in front of the building where there were already two fire trucks and many firemen scattering about to investigate. Good news -- the "all clear" was given very quickly and our time spent out on the sidewalk was only about 5 minutes at most and rather fun, as the guests had an impromptu chance to "mingle". Even the firemen were enjoying the "fun" and several of the guests actually had their pictures taken with them. :)
We went out "exploring the city and oh the things we saw. Being a native Floridian, it doesn't take much civic or architectural history to really impress me. So, trust me when I say I was just simply awe-struck by all the jaw-dropping detail and beauty crammed into a relatively small space. Building after building, house after house, facade after facade...one more beautiful than the last.

I kept thinking that so much of the town's ambiance was reminiscent of picturesque towns in Europe. Below, as you can see, we were able to drive on some of the oldest roads (you almost can't even call them "roads" -- more like paths) my car has certainly ever seen! They were small/narrow and steep! Made for some interesting driving at times! :)

The Paris Market & Brocante -- a destination all its own...
I completely forgot to ask the sales staff if their famous Paris Metro sign was for sale. You see it in every picture taken of this store and since just about everything else in the store (no matter how big!) had a price tag on it somewhere, who knows? Maybe I could have shoved the sign in the back of the SUV...? :)

Here is Olivia with her Paris Market straw tote shopping bag -- even their shopping bags are perfect!!! SPEND THAT GIFT CERTIFICATE, OLIVIA!!
The store was all we'd dreamed it would be -- AND MORE. Here's a little example of how incredible it was. Now, I know before I even write this that there may be some who will read this and think I've simply lost my mind and need to get a life, but trust me, if you go, you'll get it....
Here's what happened....I was so already so overwhelmed by just being there -- it was like seeing my own store, only as I dream for it to be. It took me forever just to cross through the front door of the place, and once I entered, I was like Alice stepping through the Looking Glass.
OK, so my hubby & Olivia are with me, hubby obviously also enjoying all that he's seeing. But, since I planned to look at ABSOLUTELY EVERY SQUARE INCH OF THE STORE, he had already made his way to their lower level of shopping and had already scoped it all out downstairs.
So, as I finally began making my way downstairs to join him (after who knows how long upstairs!) I see him sort of "heading me off at the pass", waving his arms at me and kind of giving me the "no, you can't come down here" look....He knows me too well. He'd already figured out that if I was that intrigued just by their main floor, I was going to be in big trouble down stairs. He's so sweet.
Sure enough...I got to the bottom of the stairs, took a quick glance around at what was before me, and ....well....I BEGAN TO CRY!!!
OK -- does that sound absolutely crazy to anyone? Hasn't anyone else been so overcome by total sensory overload of beauty that their senses simply couldn't absorb any more?
I quickly composed myself and trust me, I managed to still put a hurtin' on the shopping aspect, but later, when trying to explain to Doug my unusual reaction, this is the only way I could describe it:
I saw my store.
The store I've envision all these many years while only being online. The Paris Market was full of many of the same items I already carry, and many that I would carry if I didn't have to concern myself with shipping. The smells, the music -- they were playing THE EXACT SAME SONGS I have been downloading for years, in anticipation of already having my music playlist done for my store-to-be.
So, I stood there at the bottom of those stairs and all I could manage to utter, with tears welling up, was "This is MY store...this is the store I'm supposed to have..."
I further summed it up like this -- picture a woman whose arms ache for a child, but she so far has not been able to bear one. She has the name picked out, the room already decorated in her mind and even some of the nursery's decor already purchased (in faith). She falls asleep one day and dreams of her child -- she's allowed somehow to see THE child she will one day truly bear and raise. But...the dream lasts only an hour and at the end she must say her tearful good-byes to the one she's waited for, ached for and prayed for so many years.
Yes, she now has more to cling to, a real hope and promise to hold on to until the time comes for real. But the idea of standing there, beholding the face of that child even for a short time is overwhelming to all her senses.
A few months back, I wrote a post some months back called "Lessons From Mr. Magorium And My Own Wonder Emporium", discussing my longing to finally "birth" my dream of a "real" store. How the desire for it had become more than a dream but somehow an ache -- feeling so, so ready to bring it about now, as never before. Read that post -- perhaps my reaction there in the middle of the lower level of The Paris Market will "gel" for you. :)
Beauty abounds at The Paris Market -- I hope one day soon you'll experience it, too....
OK...So there is more to Savannah than The Paris Market (although I'd go back again just for that place!!).
Below are pics of a building that exemplifies their kind of architecture -- no expense spared by those building this city hundreds of years ago!
The blue accents along the roof line/eaves are actually individual tiles in the most incredible lapis blue!!

Savannah chronicles their rich past in many ways and in many places -- this handsome statue of James Ogelthorpe was but one of many, many seen dotting the squares/parks about town...From what we read about this statue, they have him facing away from the town, facing south toward Florida since back then, as Georgia's primary military threat was from the Spaniards in St. Augustine, Florida...and since no military man ever has his back to his enemy, he faces away from Savannah-proper toward the south...Hopefully, he harbors no hard feelings for me, a Floridan there appreciating his town's beauty. :)
As I said, so much of Savannah seemed to visually hark to Europe, what you might imagine Victorian England or France to look like....Just look at this otherwise commonplace stairway leading up to an in-town home...Vines everywhere, the rich patina of the iron handrail and the well-worn stone steps...Beauty truly oozes from every inch of this town.
I was particularly taken by their doors and doorways...The door on the left was just one of many beckoning you into yet another fabulous antique shop. This one, however, was particularly charming, since to get to it, you stepped down several steps into a small entryway where on the deep black-green door was a sign that asked simply "Please Ring First".
The door on the right is just simply handsome and I had to have a picture. The ironwork on the doors is so ornate -- you just don't see that anymore.
OK...Speaking of doors....
One of the other stops my daughter had on her list was an architectural salvage place she'd read about. She is in the midst of planning a re-do for her bedroom at home and she immediately spotted "a little something" that would be PERFECT for the new look coming for her room. Perhaps leaned against the wall on top of what will become her desk. Maybe she can use the doors to hang little mementos from...or they can just stand there looking gorgeous.
We're planning to swap desks -- I currently use an antique English library table which she has secretly coveted for years. I will get her Pottey Barn file drawer desk and she will get my antique table/desk...Oh what we won't do for our kids...

Check it out:
We snagged a set of VERY OLD teak garden doors from India (gardens have doors??). Me oh my, what a find... Like owning the doors to The Secret Garden. Happy Birthday, Olivia! (I kind of like how they look out on our porch!) :)

Wanna see what I came home with from that place -- FOR FREE???
A pile of OLD BAGS! (And one of our cats, Bugsy, is already claiming one for himself!)
Eight FABULOUS old burlap coffee bean sacks!!! And even now we are STILL having COFFEE BEANS FALL OUT OF THEM!! Too funny!
The guy at the salvage place probably thought we were two nutty gals, going as crazy for his pile of burlap bags destined for the rubbish bin as we did for the exquisite finds in his shop! Go figure!

He said we could take all we wanted since he constantly gets more with every shipment from overseas! Oh the things that make our heart sing! Some gals want diamonds...I swoon for burlap coffee bags. Doug lucked out! ;)

Well, that ends my diatribe about our trip. I know I should have taken more pictures, but honestly, there was SO much I could have taken pictures of and I didn't want to endure the rolling eyes of Doug & Olivia the entire trip as my camera would again be reached for and I'd hold everyone up for "just one more picture!".

Do yourself a favor! Book a stay in Savannah!! I know I'm already dreaming of heading back -- maybe at Christmas? Don't you just know they do it up right for Christmas in Savannah??

P.S...A huge "thank you" to my sisters Val and Minnie for enabling us to even take this trip by overseeing things for us while we were gone!!! THANK YOU!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


For the first time in YEARS (last real vacation was to Maine in 1997) we are hitting the road - and it comes at a time when we ALL need it!

The occasion? My sweet Olivia's 18th birthday! The destination? Savannah! More precisely, The Paris Market & Brocante! WOO-HOO! Ya'll, if you live anywhere near that store, I'd advise you to get there and get what you want, because when we leave that store, there will be NOTHIN' LEFT! :)
Olivia has been pulling pages from various magazines that feature travel stories on Savannah or on The Paris Market in particular. She's been stowing said magazine pages in a file (yes, she's a type-A personality and has a filing system for these things. Well, I do too -- can you say "stuffed in a drawer somewhere??") along with pages about other cities she'd like to see (Chicago, Seattle, Paris...).

Well, of all the cities in the file, Savannah was the most accessible for us considering we'd be driving and it would have to be a whirlwind trip. So, the hotel reservations were made and we've kept the trip a secret from Olivia until last night.

Victoria magazine did the feature shown below on The Paris Market in a very recent issue -- it makes the store sound incredible -- I just know it will be!

Oh, I found out that the place I chose for us to stay at was listed on The Travel Channel's list of "America's Most Haunted Hotels & Inns". Great. So here's the thing -- I've made it known that if I hear so much as even ONE thing go "bump" in the night, its OUT TO THE CAR for me! Its practicially as big as a Sherman tank and I'll sleep out there, thank you very much! :)

This is a picture of the hotel in its early days -- it dates back to the same era as our house does, so it will be interesting to stay there and see if there are any similarities architecturally....

This is how the hotel looks today -- quite lovely for her age, isn't she? Oh that we could be so well preserved! :)

Above is a picture (from the inn's media kit) of the beautifully restored hotel -- the best of old and new!

So anyway, last night we couldn't keep the secret any longer and we presented Olivia with a gift certificate to The Paris Market ... a little confusing to her until we filled her in on "the plan" -- "HONEY! WE'RE GOIN' TO SAVANNAH!"

So...off we go and even though we'll be back in what will seem like the blink of an eye, it will surely be a real memory-making trip for us all.
Can't wait to share the beauty of that gorgeous old city and all the landmarks and architecture steeped in history. No doubt it is going to be sensory-overload, but oh what a way to over-do it!

Monday, September 8, 2008


Oh September...
This is the month.
The time of year when there is that one afternoon -- around 4:30PM -- when I see it. Just outside my kitchen window, the afternoon shadows have begun to fall slightly differently upon the landscape. The long shadows of Fall make their first appearance.
Its in the way the sunlight hits the same spots outside, just somehow different now. The light filters into the window in a more beautiful, softer way.
Oh, it is a wonderful feeling!
The view from my kitchen sink may become less lush and green, but still the "look" of Fall is a beautiful one to me!

Some "awake" in Spring -- for me, it is Fall.

The month when the year finally begins to break into stride and there comes the promise of the coming month-after-month of wonder.

Inspiration and energy abound for me during these Fall and Winter months -- do they for you?

I feel a rebirth each and every September -- as though my very soul has been slumbering during the weighty, warm months. What about you?

The scents are warmer and spicier - cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg; the food is richer and heartier - soups, squash, stews; and the "feel" is cozy and divine - a heavier throw on the couch, logs instead of a plant on the hearth, sweaters and light jackets on hooks in the mudroom.
And if you're in a vintage home that can be drafty, you're thankful for the funny-shaped "pillow" called a 'draft-stopper' to help keep the chilly air from seeping in from outside.
There has been so, so much going on with The Beautiful Life -- some to share (like fabby new store items!) and some for me to savor a bit longer before I share...(suspense!)
Maybe its this glorious time of year, but the feeling here is electric -- like there is more going on inside me than I have ways and mean to express! But one thing is sure -- the "ride" is as delicious as the "destination".
In the spirit of all this crispness-of-air and cozying up to the hearth, have a look at these wonderful, large (very large) French burlap pillow-covers we've just added. They measure a full 2 feet square and will be the perfect thing for late-night reading in bed on a chilly night.

Along with the textural appeal of the pillow, you'll surely want to 'catch a falling star' and toss one into your decor as decorating trends toward richer, mellower hues...
These beautiful dimensional
Moravian stars
are crafted of metal and come in two sizes -- either one will make a statement and add just the right amount of what we like to call 'vintage -funk'.

To add THE quintessential smell of Fall to every inch of your home, do yourself a favor and pick up some of THESE CLAY POT CANDLES!!
You haven't smelled the warm deliciousness of Fall until you've burned one of these SUPER highly scented Terra Vasa candles. They just "look" like Fall, too! Scents such as Hazelnut, Warm Banana Nut Bread, and Apple Cider will fill your home as no other candle can.
Oh so much more to tell and show, but for now we wish you every "bountiful" happiness on this fair September day...

Friday, September 5, 2008


Oh I seem to have lots of occasions for ecstatic jumping up & down these days!!

In my last blog post, it was because I'd discovered "Fall' at my local Starbucks had arrived and today its because I got ANOTHER blog-love award!! YIPPEE!!

Sweet, funny, oh-so-talented
JOY (TheJoyOf blog) tagged me with this blog award and I'm so thrilled to not only receive it, but also to be able to now pass it along to seven others!

This is just plain old school-girl fun, isn't it?? Even when we're all "grown up" (well, kinda) we still get to play TAG!

Before I go any further, let me say again how much you NEED to follow Joy's blog and also her webstore -- OH MY WORD! How can one person find SO many unbelieveably cool things to offer to us??

No matter what it is, if it gets into Joy's hands, it going to be transformed into something incredible! As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've lost count of how many things I have around my house now that I purchased from her
INCREDIBLE store, The Hope Jar. (And still I buy more!)

So, thank you, Joy for thinking of me when you had this award to pass along. I wish I could pass it back to you (but apparently that's against the "rules"). Bummer...

Thankfully, there is no shortage of fabby blogs out there so here are my "lucky seven" picks to now be "tagged" by receiving this award:

1.) Elizabeth Maxon of Elizabeth House (a gorgeous shop in St. Louis, MO) -- someone I've admired and "followed" for years (since an article came out in Mary Engelbreit magazine probably 6 years ago?). Since then, we just continue to see more and more of her with her contributions in Romantic Homes magazine, etc. and her wonderful blog, The Adventures Of Elizabeth (very aptly named).

Elizabeth has forgotten more about style and beauty and ambiance than most of us will ever know. So, here's to you Elizabeth -- you keep us all hanging on your every word and waiting with anticipation for every new blog post and each new contribution you have in the magazine(s). Thanks so much for the time you devote to beauty in your own life and the lives of all who learn from you.

2.) I couldn't pass up "awarding" Kim at Dear Daisy Cottage. This is one incredible, colorful, delightful, sweet, happy, upbeat blog! The neatest thing is, Kim & I don't live very far from each other at all (maybe 30 minutes away) . We've never met but you never know - maybe one day!

Kim really lives the life. To me, Kim equals SUNSHINE. It is immediately evident that she loves and savors every minute of every day. Obviously a very good user of her time, Kim manages to not only maintain a very colorful and "active" blog but she also writes for magazines and is active publishing photography on Flickr in a photography "group" we're both part of. When I see yellow or red, I immediately think of Kim -- visit her blog now, you'll see why!

3.) Swoon-o'rama...Get ready to just "park it" for a while and be prepared to keep having to pick your jaw up off the desk as you browse this one... Shawn's blog/business Country French Antiques has me wanting to pull a "Freaky Friday" and BE her for a day (maybe longer). The beauty contained on her blog is so vast that I'm surprised there is bandwith in cyberspace to contain it.

And, if they ever get around to making it possible to teleport through the internet, well...kiss me goodbye 'cause I'm heading straight to Country French Antiques & European Market, baby! Here's your blog-love award, Shawn -- from one Francophile to another! :)

4.) On to another blog I've really become "attached" to... Tania Wood's precious blog, WILIBLEU. I don't really remember how I initially came across her blog, but it didn't take long for me to begin "following" it. To be truthful, at first I had some "issues" with her and her blog...see, when I started reading her blog, it was the beginning of her adventure of moving from California to Maine. Anyone who knows me knows that this was MY dream! MINE! MINE! MINE! :) SO.... the littel green man known as "envy" was doing a number on me when I first found her blog... I'm okay now -- and very happy for her and her family, so we're good. :)

One day when it just so happened that she placed an order with me, I recognized her name on the order and I called her at home. We had a nice chat and I had a chance to "come clean" with my little bout with jealousy that I had at first. We had a good laugh over it and it was a fun time to get to know her by phone and now I'm nothing but happy for her and her sweet family. Really! I am! ;)

So, Tania -- here is your blog-love award....and don't forget me when those fall leaves start to blaze with color! :)

5.) How could I neglect my crazy sister's blog The World According To Libby? Libby is one person who genuinely "lives out loud"! Full-tilt, everyday. High energy, big laughs, FUNNY, and extremely BIG-hearted.

You can tell her anything and there is never a "surprised" OH MY! look on her face -- she accepts you for who you are, period. You can laugh with her (she's usually the one making YOU laugh), cry with her, be gut-level honest with her, and there is never a grudge or hold-over when its over. With Libby, each day is truly a clean-slate. That is a gift; a blessing. Lib, you're a one-in-a-million, girl. Here's to YOU!

6.) Next, you just have to know about Lola B's blog (don't you just love that name??). I've been reading Kasey's blog for some time now and every post is better than the last.

Her blog and store just look dreamy, dreamy, dreamy and if I EVER get to her neck of the woods, I'll definitely make her place a destination! Oh, by the way, Kasey...ever consider expanding your store online for those of us who don't travel much??? Hint, hint, hint... :)

7.) You HAD to see this one coming....who else but sweet FIFI? 'Fabulous' Fifi, indeed! Fifi is all things pretty, all things feminine, all things beautiful and sweet. And chic. And FAB!

French by birth (unlike some of us who claim to be French in our dreams!), Fifi has a style that you just can't help but be drawn to -- style of life, of home, of being... Fifi, there is NO WAY you are expected to have to "play along" in this game of tag (considering your schedule) but I just wanted to "award" you anyway -- in case there is anyone left out there who doesn't already know of and follow your blog. Thank you, friend -- for maintaining that blog that so many, many of us wait to read each month. Oh what lady! Cheers and thank you!

8.) Not to be missed, speaking of France, is Tongue In Cheek blog, from Corey. Oh how I love this blog. I feel transported to France by the way Corey writes about "everyday" life in France. So sweet is the way her hubby is strictly referred to as 'French Husband'. Oh, I just love it all.

9.) And AGAIN speaking of French-things, there is Barb at The French Elements blog...anyone noticing a trend here?? Starts with an F and rhymes with inch....I love reading her posts and of course all of her great pics! Congratulations, Barb -- love your blog!!

10.) And finally, for anyone who could collect yummy fabrics like some collect shoes, THIS is the site for you! Anna Maria Horner's blog is TOTAL eye candy -- especially if you are any kind of seamstress. Some months back, I "stumbled upon" her blog and IMMEDIATELY (I mean THAT VERY DAY) found out how to order her products and now carry her apons and kitchen towels in the store! (Remember all my recent blog posts about my new addiction to aprons? And my ramblings about June Cleaver? She's why!!).

So, Anna Maria Horner -- here's to you! You've filled our world with whimsy and color around here -- and I want to personally thank you for such a delightful blog. Reading about not only your fabric lines and sewing, but about your beautiful family as well! P.S. You look like one of the kids! How do you do it?? :)


For those of you "winners" who have now been "tagged" with this award, here are the guidelines to follow, should you choose to pass the award along to others. There is no penalty for not doing it, no bad fortune will befall you, just receive your award and enjoy it. Know that your writing and posting efforts are appreciated, acknowleged and loved!

1. If you've been tagged, copy and put the heart logo on your blog.

2. Mention and link to the person who gave you the award (that would be me...).

3. Nominate at least 7 (or more) other blogs and link to them as you mention them.

4. Leave a message on the blogs you've nominated so they know they're loved! :)

Hugs to you ALL!


Thursday, September 4, 2008

ITS FALL!! (Well it is at Starbucks, anyway, and that's what counts, right?)

My own little "Starbucks Siren" icon...Right now, she's saying Fall is coming!

I walked into my local Starbucks yesterday afternoon to pick up a couple of 'liquid treats' for myself and my sweet daughter and found myself in wonderment.

Its good that they know me so well in there and have come to expect my sometimes "over-excited" nature and joy of just being at
Starbucks because I stood there, first in awe, looking around...something had changed. Then the "contained" jumping up and down commenced. I was SO excited to see the first, OFFICIAL START OF FALL -- they were offering the first "Fall drink" of the year --

Okay, I'm not gonna lie to you. It may be September, but here in Florida (and probably in most of the U.S.) the weather is not yet what we'd call "cool" and the air is anything but "crisp"...
No matter! Even though it was in the 90's outside, yours truly ordered her first yummy
Pumpkin Spice Latte of the year and probably created a bit of a "scene" doing so...

If I said it once, I said it 10 times while I stood there waiting for my drink:

"Oh, you have Pumpkin Spice Lattes -- this is so great!" "OH! Look at all the new things! You changed things around, too! And look! You have wheat in your displays!" "Oh this is great!" "Fall is HERE!" "I LOVE YOU GUYS!!"

Okay, so they were probably shaking there heads (again) and wondering why I don't get out more as I left, but I think I probably make them smile, too. Who wouldn't want to have such a loyal, enthusiastic customer come in everyday (OOPS! Did I say EVERYDAY?) and ooh and ahh over your store?

For me, my
Starbucks "experience" not just a fast-food stop - not just a place to run in and grab a cuppa joe (HA! in fact, some places should just call it a 'cuppa John Doe', its so generic!). As the ad campaign for another coffee place insinuates, America may "run on ------ ------" but does anyone really ever make that place a destination?

No, Starbucks is truly is a 'destination' for me. I can't walk in there (no matter how many times a day I do) without first just pausing, taking it all in.

The smell: there is no other smell like it and I wish they'd bottle it!

The "feel": like home-away-from-home; you can put your feet up, curl up with a book, or meet up with a friend and chat for hours as if you were at your kitchen table.

The "vibe" -- the colors, the furniture, the layout, the art, THE MUSIC.
None of it is by 'accident', trust me, its all by design, and it's a formula that is sheer genius.

So much so, that last year when we were finally ready to gut and remodel our space over our garage (which has been dubbed anything from 'the barn' to 'the carriage house')
we looked to
Starbucks as our design template, if you will.
And now, that space is lovingly called by many 'The Starbucks Room'. Okay, 'brand-loyalty' gone too far? Maybe. Maybe not. This new space turns out to be one of the best things we've ever done -- we make fabulous family memories in it, we USE it, and most of all, there isn't a time we walk into that area that we don't just pause and smile (maybe even giggle a little). It was some of the best money ever spent.

Here's where I'm "going" with this... When you consider your own living space, does it excite you and have that "Starbucks affect" on you each time you walk through the door?

When you walk through your front door (or when family and friends do) does everything in you want to just stop - pause a second and take it all in? The scent, the "feel", the "vibe"?

Or, is it a "fast-food" equivalent? Generic, utilitarian only?
JANE DOE?? No identity? Does it say "Just exactly who lives here, anyway? Anyone?"

Maybe as our season changes now (
c'mon FALL!!), its time to take inventory of the space we call home. Ask ourselves "Do I absolutely ADORE walking in here?" Does it reflect YOU and all that is "you" (whatever that is)?

Did you know that to accomplish that, you have to first define "you"? Many of us skip that part and just enter a house and exist there. As much as a space/house is hard surfaces of brick/concrete/stone/wood/plaster, etc., they are as much evolving, living things, too. Or they should be.

If you take stock and have to admit that you are living in a JANE DOE space instead of your own version of your personal "Starbucks" (or whatever makes you swoon), why not give yourself the gift of purposing to make your home, your space (whatever/where ever that is) become YOU instead of JANE DOE.

Begin taking note of those momenets -- whenever and where ever they occur -- when you sense that you just feel great about where you are. Where do you LOVE to go and why? Is it a store? A restaurant? A coffee shop? Someone else's home? What is it about that space that just sends you?
What smell consistantly makes you smile and just feel great? Is there a candle that you adore everytime you smell it in a store? BUY A CASE! Why only swoon over a scent when you walk into someone's store or home? OWN that feeling in your own home - make it your 'signature' scent!

This is what is called investing in yourself - in your life.
LifeSTYLES are not for everyone else -- YOU should have your own lifeSTYLE and don't be shy about investing in it.

If its a color scheme that you've realized always makes your heart leap or makes you feel immediately at rest, get busy incorporating it into YOUR home! Chances are, you're paying dearly to live in that home (especially these days!) and to not make that place truly your sanctuary is a financial crime! :)

So, be thinking of ways to take a fresh look at your home -- and your
lifeSTYLE. Buy a fresh new candle, or a bag of apples or pears to place on the counter or table. Maybe for you its fresh flowers that are long overdue in your home.

Maybe its a $20 can of paint and a couple of hours' work that will be
changing for you.

The kids are back to school now, but I have a HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT for YOU -- survey your home, your life -- what's missing, what needs to go (or be replaced)? What do you wish your home and your lifeSTYLE was really
like? What can you do to start the process of change?

The seasons are changing. Maybe your home's "vibe" should, too!

This should never be something we think we'll address "someday" or "next year".

Guess what? You can't set your watch to "someday" -- and I've found that "someday" doesn't exist. Its not out there, so stop planning to do things someday.

Know what does exist?? NOW. Now exists -- let's get busy now.

Class dismissed. :)