Tuesday, March 31, 2009


{Photo credit: Home Organization Solutions. A company whose services I could dearly use!}

Okay, so how many of us have cracked open a magazine and seen a spread about someone's FABULOUS laundry room?

You know the ones... the kind of laundry room where if you weren't doing laundry in it, it could easily double as a guest suite -- for a foreign dignitary.

Yeah. Me, too. There are the gorgeous European built-ins, housing the fabulous European laundry equipement (with price tags to match a European luxury sedan).

Countertop space for folding and sorting, stretching out as far as the eye can see.....

Then you walk into YOUR laundry room to do that 5th load of the day and REALITY HITS YOU!

No pristine, custom built-ins here.

Brand new Italian tile floors? Nope. Tile floors alright -- but they're the icky mud-brown ones I "inherited" with the house that I painted a couple of times but still the paint scrapes up and gets nicked, revealing the nasty shade of brown beneath.

Home-y white beadboard walls/ceilings? Nah...try cracked & rotting plaster walls/ceilings. (Let's just say roof leaks and plaster walls DO NOT MIX). I've painted over most of it (except for the bad ceiling areas) and pretty much no one would ever know "what lies beneath" all that paint! :)

Oh, and how about those miles and miles of countertop space and vast storage behind those custom built-ins? Nope to that, too. There were NO built-ins and what we "inherited" with the house was SOOO bad, it was one of the first things to go to the dump.

I did buy a couple of nice cabinets on sale at Crate & Barrel years back and they have served me well! A cast-off wall shelf from my daughter's bedroom now stows a few things.

{Seeing the cabinets in these pics tells me I might want to staple up some fabric behind those glass doors! See the bottle of Spray & Wash?"}

BELOW: The hot water heater, beast that it is, is not so beautifully hidden behind a makeshift "screen" we made out of two wooden hollow-core doors hinged together.
{Photo note: Hey, do you like how I keep silk greenery on the "screen"? Yeah...that really helps...}.


CONFESSION TIME: We made this 8 years ago with my full intention of painting it and then doing some lovely hand painting on it (you know -- like a gorgeous trompe l'oiel French chateau door or something) but guess what? As of this writing and these photos taken Sunday afternoon --- 8 years later --- DOORS STILL UNFINISHED.

I know one day I will do that special painting on it and turn it into something lovely instead of just this huge wooden monstrosity. And won't it look cool when I do? Someday....

Add that to the lengthy "to - do" list of mine. Right up there with dusting all my light bulbs! ;)

And, I do love my great eBay find - my black tole-painted laundry hamper. I got it for a great price also about 12 years ago and I do like it.

Oh, and then there are the burlap pocket bags I found online about 10 years ago. I didn't even know what I'd use them for, but even that many years ago I loved the combo of burlap and black. I think I paid like $5 a piece for them.

I stow things in them like vacum bags (BEFORE my sweet hubby sprang for the Dyson!), dryer lint cleaner brush thingy, vacum attachments, etc...

The laundry sink is always so full of junk , I never really use it to actually wash anything. (DOES ANYONE? JUST WONDERING.)

I keep an old cutting board perched on one corner of it for extra "counter space". Hey, whatever works, right?

Since I am such a visual person, I love to keep bulletin boards around the house and I tuck in special cards and photos from over the years. So, when I'm in the laundry room, even then I can look up and see something pretty that means something special to me.

I will say this -- hubby "forced" me to spring for the set of large capacity machines a couple of years ago and HEAR THIS -- they really are worth it!! I do far fewer loads than I used to and the machines apparently use less water, etc., and they are so much quieter!

{Photo note: The clothes in basket on the dryer? My "ironing pile". Do you have one? See the dark rectangular thingy in the pic to the right of the rug? That's my floor vent (a/c-heat). It is so smashed in that one day I swear I'm going to absent-mindedly put my foot through it and break my leg.} :)

I never cease to be amazed at how much I can cram into that washer! At least the equivilent of two loads in my old machine! So, I'm not only saving water but also TIME! Put a set on your wish-list! :)

Another "quirk" about the room is that it has THREE DOORS! One goes to my daughter's bathroom, one to the family room and one .... to the ENTRY WAY!

{This is the door guests are greeted to at the end of our long entryway. I try to "dress it up as much as I can, and have added shirred fabric on the door, concealing the clear glass window which otherwise looks right into the laundry room!}

That's right -- when you walk in my front door, facing you down the long, narrow hallway is my laundry room door of all things! :)

So, just wanted to "come clean" with pics from my laundry room...its typically the LAST ROOM any woman ever wants to show anyone! Even her best friend! So, I guess that means you guys really rate! (You do!). ;)


There is a blogger out there who is having an "UGLIEST LAUNDRY ROOM" contest/giveaway and I thought you might like to know about it and enter -- if you dare! The deadline is April 8th and the link to her blog is below. :)

If you want to enter the "Ugliest Laundry Room" contest, click over to
Parisienne Farmgirl's blog to enter!

Good luck and show us those laundry rooms!

{Just a note: I hope you all know my comments about my laundry room are in fun. I'm thankful to have a laundry room, no matter what it's condition. I'm thankful I don't wash my clothes at a muddy river bank. So, in light of my last post, I do want to at least mention this. I'm grateful and thankful for the room where I wash my family's clothes. Just thought you'd like to know about the giveaway over at Parisienne Farmgirl's blog -- and have a little good, clean "laundry room fun"}


Monday, March 30, 2009



Good Monday to you! This week's "Music Monday" reminds me of and relates to my recent blog post telling of the ladies in Uganda that I have partnered with, helping to sell the works of thier hands in the hopes of providing them a way to provide for their families.

The song is sung by one of my favorites - Sara Groves. Her voice is gentle and her words are always, always so incredible thought-provoking. She sings as those she is simply speaking to you.

The song is called "I SAW WHAT I SAW" and it tells the story of her trip to Rwanda and how it changed her forever -- something trips to such places (like Uganda) will do to you.

I think its basically challenging us all to take another look at all that we have and remember those who really fight to survie; those who know what it truly means to be thankful for the next meal. We can often feel that we have so much to complain about -- until you get around people who walk everywhere they go -- countless miles a day, with no shoes. People who know nothing of a hot shower -- in clean water.

{Above photo taken by my hubby when he was in east Africa}

Yet somehow still smile broadly, belt out laughter and actually have hope beaming from their eyes. Many of us would have crumbled under such circumstances and it is humbling to see a people in their situation live with such grace.

When a friend of mine was talking of one of her trips to Kenya, she mentioned that they routinely come back with one less suitcase. I asked her what she meant. She told me that its just a matter of course that when you go, you buy clothes to wear there -- clothing appropriate to the area (women typically wear skirts in deference to the fact that most of the women from that area wear only skirts/dresses) and just plan on not coming back with them. You come back, she said, with pretty much what you're wearing on the plane. You leave the rest for them...We can always buy more once we're home again, but your new friends in the far-away country will have something they otherwise never would have had.

We should never be ashamed of the blessings we have - especially as Americans. Though those feelings definitely arise when you see how others live with so much less. What we can do, however, is use what we have been given -- whatever that looks like (time, abilities, talents, our sphere of influence, etc.) to give a hand-up to someone who is barely able to imagine a tomorrow.

{Another of the photos taken by my hubby while in Africa}

It's why I decided to do the one thing I felt I could do to help the ladies in Uganda (that I now consider my "sisters"/friends). My "sphere of influence" was my store. I may not be able to travel back & forth to do hands-on help thousands of miles away, but I could tell others of them. I could help enlarge the territory in which their beautiful handwork is sold (my webstore). Its all I could think to do from this season in my life, but what a blessing its been.

Granted, most of us will never journey to a far-off country, but we can learn from and be impacted/touched by the wisdom and insight brought back and shared with us by those who have made the journey. They bring us back a perspective that we will otherwise be ignorant of.

And if we allow it to, it can change us forever.

In an awesome way.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


{This is just one of the lovely vintage Catholic prayer cards collected by my customer, Mildred, and showcased on her website}

You may recall I recently shared some pictures that a customer sent me showing how he & his wife are using the large metal French bottle-drying rack they purchased from us to showcase their very large collection of Starbucks "city" mugs. See it HERE.

Well, I got to speak to another customer last week about how she intends to use the golden metal sacred heart locket she purchased from us and it is such an absolutely lovely idea I had to share it with you.

Mildred has had a deep Catholic upbringing and has a very strong faith, so she loved the idea of the sacred heart to begin with, but the fact that it is a functioning locket was even better!

This is because Mildred plans to place small slips of paper inside it on which are written special prayers for certain people at any given time. Each time she passes it, she'll be reminded of what's inside and thereby reminded to pray for their need. Isn't that incredible??

In speaking with Mildred, she shared that she has a passion for collecting antique Catholic prayer cards and has started a website devoted to it. She has painstakingly cataloged her collection and shares it in full online for all. Each prayer card (and there are LOTS!) is available to print out and laminate if you'd like.

Since I am not Catholic, I am not completely familiar with prayer cards, but I can say that the images on them are truly lovely! I hope you'll pay her site a visit -- its called
HOLY REFLECTIONS and I think you'll be taken with Mildred's devotion to her faith and the sweet write-up she's done on her "About Me" page. :)

After speaking with Mildred and acquainting myself with her website it is obvious that she is just as beautiful inside as she is outside.

Thanks so much for sharing, Mildred!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

They Say "The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword." That may be. I can attest to the fact that its JUST AS SHARP!

Ah, the beauty of writing with an old-fashioned pen nib dipped in a bottle of beautiful Italian ink...nothing like it. Whatever you write feels somehow more important -- more like prose...
These gorgeous handmade Italian pen nibs are so beautiful; I have them in all kinds of designs including nibs shaped like the Eiffel Tower (of course) and as in the photo, one shaped like the face of Pinocchio (you write with his "nose").
When I'm not using the pens, I love to keep them in an antique French mustard jar -- pen nib facing UP so it can be admired for it's unique beauty.
(The other pen in the jar is a gorgeous hand-blown glass pen with a beautiful cobalt blue tip).
Well, some things are a good idea in THEORY ONLY... That bit about facing the pen nib UP, that is...
Well yesterday my penchant for surrounding myself with beauty and appreciating even the smallest details (as in pointing my pen nibs UP so I can admire them...) really TURNED ON ME.
I was at my desk standing over the shoulder of my daughter to show her this really cute video of my new favorite little French girl, Capucine. (I've shared her videos with you a few posts back -- see them HERE).
I reached down for the computer mouse and without paying attention (imagine that) I instead impaled my wrist on Pinocchio's nose...
At first I figured I'd just barely nicked myself and that the pen was just kind of in the skin... Until I tried to shake it off my wrist. Then I tried to lightly pull it out. Then I knew I was in trouble.
You remember that picture of the pen nib? Here's how is SHOULD LOOK:
Unfortunately, somehow, someway, once it entered my wrist, it did what those wall anchors you can buy do -- it completely twisted and those two sharp, skinny pieces of metal that form the nib twisted and were now embedded and clamped in my wrist.
Its a sick "twist" on beauty to be sure.
Oh, by the way...That is NOT blood on the wooden handle. Its stained from a pretty rose-scented ink I have. I wouldn't be THAT dramatic... :)
So now the nib is wider than it was when it entered my wrist. Great.
At this point, I can try to shake my wrist all I want, its in there. REALLY in there. Since the metal pieces did their bizarre, sick "twisty" thing upon entry, I had no choice but to simply grasp the hand and YANK.
Now before I go any further, let me say right here that my sweet hubby (read my post about the dude HERE) asked me
Hubby: "Hey! Did you get any shots of the pen still in your wrist?" Me: "Um let me think...hmm...nope, sure didn't. Was a little freaked out by the thing dangling off me with a vengance. Guess I'm not a hardcore blogger yet, since in this case getting "Pinocchio" to loosen his bite on me was just a tad more important than fumbling around for my camera so I could get an action shot for my blog."
(Love ya, hon!) ;)
Anyway, I yanked, it came flying out (along with what looked like about a pint of blood) and I lived to tell the whole sordid tale.
By the way, this happens only minutes before I'm supposed to leave for a hair appointment. Far be it from me to allow anything to get in the way of touching up those roots, girls! :)
So the moral to this story (which could have been written in blood - my own) is the picture you see below:

Pen nibs point DOWN from now on!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Beautiful New Jewelry From The Ladies In Jinja, Uganda!

How often do you get to be a part of helping truly impact the lives of other women 1/2 way around the world...?

{For those of you new to the blog since we first introduced our "Jinja Jewelry Project" back in July, click HERE and HERE for the story behind what The Beautiful Life is doing to help a group of women in Uganda improve their lives and the lives of their children/families.}

Its so hard to believe that it has been 9 months since The Beautiful Life began what we call the Jinja Jewelry Project and your response to the jewelry is what has allowed us to continue to tell the ladies in Uganda who make the jewelry that we need more and more!

Our latest "batch" of jewelry is quite possibly the best ever. Those ladies have really been branching out and letting their creative juices flow! Just have a look-see!!

This new collection really has a totally new "look" and we are SO excited about it!
As you can see, the beads are varied not only in color, but in size and shape, on each necklace. And this time the necklaces are VERY long, so they can be doubled, and possibly tripled for three variations on the length.

And, this time each necklace is accompanied by a set of earrings and a bracelet!

The ladies make these by recycling old posters, magazines, etc., so whatever the paper they have to work with at the moment is what determines the look of the jewelry!

PLEASE don't miss out on this batch of sets -- when these sell out, we will get more, but as you've seen, we never know what the teams will bring back with them from their trips to visit the ladies, so if this particular style "strikes you" -- get 'em while you can!

Also, obviously it simply helps us help the ladies over there when you purchase this jewelry.
Since we began, we've improved our promo materials, as well, and now when you specify that you are purchasing the jewelry to give as a gift, we have new, BEAUTIFUL large glossy "story cards" made up that tell the entire story of the women we're helping, how they make the jewelry, and there are wonderful pictures of the women on the front side of the card (both sides shown below).

It really helps give the entire gift a whole new level of meaning, don't you think?

So next time you have someone to buy for, won't you consider giving her a gift that she will not only enjoy for many years, but that will also help women in the village of Jinja, Uganda who also wish to give their children the promise of a better life?

Visit the Jinja Jewelry Project page HERE


It all started when a nice gentleman on the opposite coast found this on our webstore...

A couple of weeks ago a call came into the store from a gentleman who'd been searching high & low online for the perfect mug rack to display his wife's collection of Starbucks city mugs (most major cities in the world have their city's mug offered in the Starbucks stores in that city, and you can easily get a major collection going if you travel much at all).

So here was a man on a mission -- his wife had all these mugs (upwards of TWO DOZEN) and he was thinking it was a shame to have collected all these mugs only to have them stowed away in a cabinet (I agree!).

His web searching didn't yield much at all in the way of a typical mug rack that was up to the task of holding THAT MANY MUGS (and counting...).

In his search, however, he DID FIND our metal French bottle-drying rack! He called to find out how many mugs could be packed onto the rack and related the story of his wife's collection of these Starbucks "city" mugs.
I knew from experience that the rack can hold ALOT of mugs since that is exactly how I'd used my own rack during big Christmas parties (packing it out with my collection of Starbucks Christmas mugs).

I wanted to give my customer an accurate idea of how many mugs one could get onto that rack (its BIG, but just HOW BIG?). So, I offered to run home and pull out all my mugs and start placing them on the rack and see exactly how many would fit. I then snapped a few pictures for him, so he could see what it looked like chock full of mugs.

The rack has about 60 metal "pegs" all around but I wanted to find out how many really good-sized mugs you can fit comfortably on it. I stopped placing my mugs on the rack at upwards of 26; yes, I have that many and MORE mugs in my kitchen. (I told you we're big coffee drinkers here!).
The rack was ordered and shipped and just the other day I got a nice email from my customer WITH PICTURES!!
Here is what his new rack looks like packed out with his wife's Starbucks "city" mug collection! Well done! :)
Its so fun to see where things end up once we've carefully packaged and shipped them out from here. Each item I choose for the store is chosen with great care and thought and whenever I see where it ends up once it leaves here, I just love it!
I already have another "customer story" waiting in the wings to tell -- it has to do with the gorgeous gold sacred heart locket we just got in (and only have ONE left!). She is planning to use it in SUCH a wonderful way!

Hint, hint...show me your pics, too! If you ever buy something from me and want to "show off" how YOU'RE using it, please don't be shy about sending pictures! Yours just may end up here!
Its just kinda fun, don't you think?
Have a great day!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Guilt-Free Banana Split Treat For Your Monday

This week's Music Monday is completely for fun -- no message-in-song -- just pure musical fun from one of my very favorite old-time legends, Louis Prima.
You may recognize his voice from unlikely sources such as the theme song from Disney's The Jungle Book. His sound is upbeat and fun and just what many of us just may need this Monday.
So from me to you, I give you this calorie-free treat -- Banana Split For My Baby from Louis Prima. This song has been played many, many times in the offices of The Beautiful Life -- cranked up loud with packages being shipped out to its fun sounds. Hope you enjoy!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Our "Coffee, Coffee, Coffee" Giveaway Has A Winner: A TEA Drinker!! :)

Here I am at my local Starbucks today with one of their fabulous barristas who agreed to be my impartial name-picker. I brought in one of trademark Starbucks baseball caps (yes...I have one. Don't ask.) filled with the names of all those who left comments to enter....

She reaches in and she PICKS ONE!

The winner was (DRUMROLL......) Janet from "Its An Evolution" blog!!
I thought it was so funny because sweet Janet is actually more of a tea-drinker. BUT! She drinks the Tazo Tea "Awake" tea (LOTS OF CAFFINE) and loves green tea lattes from Starbucks, so she's an official "club member" in my book! :)
Janet, I'll get with you via email so I can get all your "details" (address, etc.) and get your gift off to you! CONGRATS, girlie!
For the rest, thanks SO much for all your comments! I now have several new brands of coffee I'm planning on trying -- a lot of you seem to favor Peets, so that might be my first one to try. Fun!
Have a sweet weekend and be sure to DRINK PLENTY OF COFFEE!
I'll raise a cup and think of all of you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Anyone who knows me knows that I run on coffee (no...I DON'T 'run on Dunkin) -- Starbucks coffee to be exact.

I do believe that my blood could be tested and found to be of the Kenyan variety -- bold, mellow, and smooth with flowery undertones. :)

When we're traveling, I honestly go into a panic if I'm in a hotel and there isn't either an in-room coffee maker or room service to have my pot ready and available to be delivered to me within minutes of waking up.

Well, I guess it if didn't take me TWO HOURS get up, dressed and ready to "arrive" downstairs at the breakfast buffet where the coffee is, I might not be in such a panic. But I digress...

And speaking of hotel in-room coffee makers -- what's up with the 2-4 cup size???? I have mugs at home bigger than that!

They know me at our local Starbucks and kid me that the employees there have to rush to grab whatever bags of their Kenya coffee they want when their new shipment arrives because they know I'll be coming in for my pound of it -- every other day. They know my drink and begin making it when they see me pull in (although lately I've been throwing them a curve-ball by ordering other things - hee hee!).

My "usual" at Starbucks is a venti (LARGE) breve (made with half-n-half instead of 2%) no-foam (well, no foam...) latte (shots of espresso blended with steamed cream). In some cases, its a "triple" or "quad" venti breve no-foam latte -- for those days when two shots just doesn't cut it.

I've tried using soy milk on about two or three occasions and each time I step up to the counter and order it I feel so healthy -- just saying "soy" makes you feel like you're suddenly fit and donning a healthy glow. I stare past the look of disbelief on the faces of the barristas and stand my ground -- thinking today marks the beginning of a new leaf for me. Its soy or 2% from now on.

Yeah...then I take one sip and remember why I vowed the last time I asked for soy milk to NEVER DO IT AGAIN.... Not unlike the feeling of being in labor, somehow the memories of how bad it was tends to leave you and before you know it you're actually doing it again.

Everytime I take my first sip of a soy latte I swear a potted plant somewhere has fallen into my drink. It's the taste of perfectly good coffee mixed with what I imagine potting soil to taste like.

I'm hoping my local barristas will save me next time I think I'm ready to go "healthy" and nod at me sweetly as I utter the words "soy latte" and just go ahead and prepare my venti breve no-foam latte. I'm shelling out a pretty penny for this stuff, I might as well not gag drinking it. :)

My daughter & I have been known to go there at close to midnight for coffee -- which leads to the obvious next questions from the employees -- "DON'T YOU TWO EVER SLEEP?" or "HOW DO YOU EVER SLEEP WITH ALL THIS CAFFEINE IN YOU?" Thing is, I can have a quad-shot latte and lay my head on the pillow within an hour and be fast asleep.

You HAVE TO WATCH this quick, hilarious series of clips to get a feel for how deep my love of coffee goes... enjoy!


How about you? Do I have any fellow java-junkies out there? Let me know what your favorite place for coffee is and what type of brew/drink your prefer when you go there.

There just might be a little prize for one of you out there! Like, maybe a little giftcard for coffee?? I'll pick a name Friday and shoot you out a gift card for some of your favorite brew. Just 'cause I want some company in my love for this dark, beautiful drink.

Just please, please don't make me have to walk into a Dunkin Donuts or a Panera for the gift card -- my repuatation with my buddies at Starbucks is at stake!! :) Nah...whoever the winner is, I'll put on my dark sunglasses and a hat and go into whatever coffee chain I have to in order to buy your gift card.

Just wanted to see how many "addicts" -- oh shoot! I did it again! -- I mean coffee lovers there are out there with me. ;)

Leave me a comment sharing where you go for the best-est ever cuppa joe and what type of coffee-drink you like. Who knows? Maybe in a few days YOU'LL have a little token of coffee "love" coming your way!

Monday, March 16, 2009

MUSIC MONDAY: Hug 'em while you got 'em....

Hi All,
I'm posting this week's "Music Monday" installment a tad late today, but hey, I think you'll find it worth the wait (at least in my humble opinion, hee-hee!).
Just got back to the office from being out for a bit with my sweet Olivia -- she had to go have blood drawn -- for the first time in her life. Poor thing...you can never really be prepared for that if its your first time and you never really get used to it no matter how many times you have it done, huh?
Anyhoo...This all works in perfectly with what may be one of my favorite "Music Monday" posts yet -- even though the music chosen to go with the video IS country music...ai, yai, yai.
The first video is set to the music of Rascal Flatts and the second video features a song by Martina McBride...whatever... ;)
Its the message in the song that I liked. No, no, no -- I'm NOT converting to country music. :)
And when you watch this one, think of your sweet ones -- no matter how young or how old they are right now. The ups, the downs, the times of confusion in their lives, then the turn-around to once again seeing clearly. Their accomplishments & triumphs, as well as their stumbles & shall we say, "detours".
Time with them is so fleeting and I hope with all my heart that you, my blog friends, have even a fraction of the closeness and bond that my Olivia & I share... if you do, you are rich beyond measure.
When you see this video, you've basically seen Olivia & me.
And to you, Olivia -- Marm loves you. I'm ALWAYS here for you -- you can tell me anything because nothing, absolutely nothing, can alter my love for you, sweet one.
Here's lookin' at you kid.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Beautiful French Bling! Medals, Medallions, and Pendants! OH MY!

We've renamed a department in the store and filled it with perhaps some of the most beautiful items ever...
Formerly "French Home Adornment", that department is now called French "Palace Decor" and aptly so!

We've added exquisitely hand-made medallions, medals and pendants -- some have pin-backs, some are simply to be placed here and there and some are meant to be worn or hung from a conspicuous place in your home as "palace jewelry".
We're also totally "ga-ga" over the large, golden metal flaming sacred heart lockets...oh me, oh my, how amazing they are!
Let the slide show whet your appetite, then head over to the online store -- you'll find everything by going either to our New Items page or directly to the French Palace Decor page.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Craving Wellness....

This is my Olivia. Isn't she beautiful? She is out on her Spring Break holiday this week and she SHOULD be shopping by day at Anthropologie and relaxing at Starbucks by night. But instead, she has been bed-ridden since last weekend....

I've been honored to be able to be here at home for her, and as much as I'm thrilled to be by her side 24/7, I think she is MORE THAN READY to slip the bonds of her bed-chamber and EXPLORE the world OUTSIDE again.
There have been no outtings with friends (unless a visit to the doc. with me counts -- not...), no trips to the mall, no movies. Just utter, horrible sickness for almost 7 days now.

Fever (104), chills, sweats, nausea (awful), and pain throughout her body as though she's been beat up or "slept on a hard floor", as she put it. It hurts to move even her eyes.

How does this happen???

Next year, we'll be in line with everyone else getting flu shots for the first time ever.

Olivia, when you are back on your feet, it's YOU & ME, BABY! We're hittin' Starbucks and Anthro and who knows where else, girl! :)

Anyone have any good tips for knocking the flu on it's tookis (pardon me)?

Thanks for listening...I'm hurting for my sweet Olivia and just wanted to share...


P.S. To add insult to injury, as they say...she has a tough, NO FUN argumentative essay assigned to her over Spring Break and its due Tuesday. She's been too sick to lift her head, much less a pencil!

Anyone out there like to write? (HEE HEE!)

Monday, March 9, 2009

~MUSIC MONDAY~ Maybe we can all take another look at those around us today...With new "eyes".

Today I'm sharing "Give Me Your Eyes" from Brandon Heath...I loved this song the first time I heard it. I had to listen to it a few times before all the words sunk in and now I think of it often as I'm out and about.
When someone calls here at the store on the phone from somewhere across the country to place an order. And the next thing we know, we've been on the phone for 45 minutes talking about their life and what they're going through. They called to simply place an order, but it turns out what they really needed was someone to talk to. How does that happen?

I ask how people are -- and I mean it.

If I sense someone on the other end of the line is stressed or down, I ask how things are going for them. I don't "know them from Adam" as the saying goes, but I care. And they share. It is truly a wonderful thing.

Are there times when I am rushed and really "can't afford half an hour on an impromptu conversation? Maybe. But then once I've heard what this person, this perfect stranger has been dealing with in her life, I realize there was no way I could NOT AFFORD to spend that time with her.

What if we're the ONLY PERSON that person will encounter today who shows any care at all for them?
Orders can wait. People can't.

Not unlike the old adage "walk a mile in someone else's shoes", today I'm thinking along the lines of wanting to see others -- perfect strangers -- in a new way, through new eyes.
Seeing past the facade and the phony smile and into the heart.

Not judging someone by what they look like, or where they happen to be in life right now, because there IS ALWAYS MORE TO THE PICTURE than what we see...
Artwork: Olivia Harsham

And not focusing on the "how" or the "why" of what brought someone to that down-trodden place they're in right now,
but rather what I can do to help them in their "now".
To see a person as they can be, not as they currently are.

And then
help them

see that vision, too....
Everyday we pass by people who are "on the verge", at a turning point, at some critical point in their lives.
Who, at even just the simple qustion "So how are you? Really?" will begin to weep
because its been so long since someone cared to ask.
And meant it.
If someone cuts you off in traffic, or glares at you in the grocery store when you say hello...imagine another scenario -- imagine what they may have just left, at home or work or school, before you saw them.
We pass people everyday who may have just lost a child, a spouse, a job. Don't judge them or their response to you. Pray for them. Love them.
Try to imagine the invisible load they're carrying that only they see, they feel. Try to imagine how hard it was for them to even walk out of the house today and put on that "happy face".
Maybe how hard it was for them
to even
get out
of bed today....
They're everywhere.
In line with you at Starbucks.
Behind the counter at Starbucks.
In the next booth over in the restaurant.
Seated at the desk next to you at work or school.
Sitting across from you tonight, at the dinner table...
Dare to care. Dare to see with new, compassionate eyes.
We're so busy these days. We all have problems and cares...please don't forget that the lady next to you in the store may, too... And maybe cut her some slack today. :)
You may never know what difference you may make in someone's life if you extend a caring greeting, a genuinely caring smile.
Only eternity will reveal the rewards of even your simplest act of kindness. But even the simplest act is never, ever wasted.
You are loved,

Saturday, March 7, 2009

"The Royal Treatment" For Your Home AND For YOU!

Just couldn't wait -- I had to do a quickie post to show you the newest pretties added to the shop....

French "Palace Decor" (for your home/palace) and French "Queenly Things" (for you, the 'queen') have arrived on the site and you are going to LOVE them all!

Here's a sneak-peek -- for the details head over to the Palace Decor page

There is more to this collection and we're working to get the rest added online, but for now, here is a "taste"....

Wishing You A Heavenly Weekend!

Absolutely nothing in particular to say here -- just thinking of all my blog-pals and just simply wanted to wish you ALL a very happy weekend -- however you define that for yourselves.

For me, its the knowledge that for the first time in A VERY LONG TIME, I don't feel absolutley under-the-gun about some kind of committment. Yes, I still have LOADS to do, but I've resolved that things will get done when they get done. How about THAT? ;)

Yes, I have more new items for the shop to photograph and put up on the site, but you it will get done. And it will be awesome when it does get done ( I really think you're going to love the new things!! ), but for now, its lunch with a friend whom I haven't seen in ages, while the hubby and my sweet daughter attend a large outdoor art show together.
So what is it that YOU can lay aside this weekend in order to carve out some time for you and your family? Trust me, "it" will still be there when you've rested up a bit. And maybe "it" (whatever that is for you) won't loom so large before us after a nice, relaxing weekend.
I'm planning on playing hookie a little bit this weekend, won't you join me??

Life truly IS beautiful!

Happy Weekend, Friends!!!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Not-Too-Late Tuesday" -- Another version of "Music Monday"?

Since I had "other issues" yesterday (my whole dental dilemna) I didn't post a song -- but today I'm feelin' better and working away at getting new inventory items posted. As always, I have the music cranked up while working and when this song came up on the playlist while I was opening boxes of MORE NEW ITEMS delivered today, I thought -- "Yes, the best IS yet to come!"

So, enjoy take a break from your day, enjoy the song, and keep checking the store's
NEW ITEMS PAGE 'cause the best really is yet to come! :)

"TOO MUCH CANDY" - A Fun Way To Start Your Day (and the possible explaination for my dental woes...?).

If you read the post just before this one, you're aware of my dental saga and my absolute fear of the dental chair. Which would lead one to ask... "Why, oh why then, do I keep jar upon jar of candies in my office?!?!"
Over the years, I can attribute more than one trip to the dentist to my candy-eating habit. The one that stands out the most is when I broke (or at least chipped) a tooth eating a CANDY NECKLACE! Try explaining THAT to your dentist when he asks, staring down at you, a GROWN WOMAN, how you came to damage your tooth...
"Uh, well, you see doc, its like this...." "CANDY NECKLACE???? At YOUR age???"
Oh, the shame.... NAH! ;)
Anyway, if you clicked on the link in my last post which takes you to a videos made by the mom of THE CUTEST LITTLE FRENCH GIRL, then you're already familiar with sweet litte Capucine and her fun home videos.
This one is PERFECT for me and probably does have a message in it for me somewhere with regard to my candy consumption. Pair this "Too Much Candy" video with the other one, "Fooling The Tooth Fairy" and you have a snapshot of my life! 'Course, if I keep up the tooth damage with the "too much candy", I won't need to FOOL the tooth fairy.... :(
Just wanted to pop in and share ONE MORE of Capucine's short videos.
Go grab your box of Milk Duds and enjoy! :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

We Have A Winner & A FUN Deviation From The Norm On "Music Monday"...

First things first! As promised, its Monday and I have randomly (well, nothing in life is truly "random") picked a winner by using one of those neat online random number generators.
Number #4 was generated and its Linda Sonia!

Congratuations, Linda!

Thanks so much, to each of you who took the time to comment and enter. Oh how I wish I could give a prize to EACH of you!! And I think my family would back me up on this -- if I thought I could get away with it, I would do it! :)

Today's winner has been posted a bit later than I normally would have done it due to the fact that I spent a good deal of the day earlier at my dentist's office. NOT FUN!

I commented on my Facebook page something to the effect of : "You know how the Hollywood stars get their names on their dressing room door, as a sign that they've "arrived"? Today's oddesey at the dentist may have earned me my name on one of his rooms!!
My visits there are far from being over -- they should just reserve a room with
my name on it. I'll be heading back there soon for what will be my THIRD root canal. Am I doing something wrong here? I hear its mainly genetics, so...

Its in the spirit of all dental fun and pitfalls (my experience is more the latter!) that in lieu of a sharing a favorite song with you, I'm going to share what I think may be the cutest video(s) on the web right now, featuring a darling little French girl (naturally).


In this video she has hatched a plan to fool the tooth fairy into leaving her a little something under her pillow -- although she has yet to lose any teeth yet (just wait, doll & don't be in such a hurry -- your day is coming, if my experience is any indication).
The little cherub's name is Capucine (love it!) and she is utterly, completely enchanting. I wouldn't be surprised if one day years from now SHE has HER name on a famous dressing room door! :)
(Thank you, Teri, for introducing me to these precious videos of her's!)
Enjoy the video and click on some of her others if you have time. I did and I just simply smiled the entire time. She is such a dear!
Thank you, again, for all your sweet, sweet comments and entries. I may not be able to give you each a shopping spree, but if we were all seated together at Starbucks I'd surely buy you a coffee, a pastry, and send you each off with a great big HUG!
Now...I'm off to check my otherwise sensation-less, numb face/jaw in the mirror. Ever try to put lipstick on when you can't feel a thing? Ugh...
Love to you all!!!