Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Oh, How Pinteresting! 2/1/12

Time again for Oh, How Pinteresting! A quick review of some of the cool things I've seen on Pinterest lately...
I love this idea of covering a chair with a chenille spread

These pastel chairs are so pretty and springlike

Source: houzz.com via Cindy on Pinterest


I'm linking up with The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, Payton!

It's so hard to believe that  my firstborn grandchild, Payton, is five years old on January 31st!

 It seems like just yesterday that he was born, and my heart was introduced to the new love of my life (Josiah came along two years ago, and of course my heart expanded to give him equal space.  And I'm sure it will be true of any future grandchildren!)

I can't even begin to express how much I love this little guy.  Let me play the proud Nana and show you a few pictures from each year of his life so far...

Hello world! Payton is here, and things will never be the same

One year old

A cute little 2-year-old

A 3-year-old among the Texas bluebonnnets

4 years old--and a big brother now too!
Just a few weeks ago--almost 5!

I won't get to be with Payton on his birthday, but I hope to travel to Texas soon and spend some quality time with my precious grandbabies!

I love you, Payton!~Nana
Happy Birthday

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Decorating Challenge: What would you do with these?

OK, admission--there's no such thing as a Saturday Decorating Challenge (that I know of, anyway.)

I would just like your thoughts on these cute little crocks.

I got them for $2.50 in Target's bargain aisle (which by the way, is teeming right now with extremely cute Valentine-related stuff.  I could have bought up most of the aisle!)

They're about 4 inches tall.  Right now, they're just sitting on my hutch.

What would you do with them?

Would you leave them as they are?
Put a little flower or greenery in each one?
I thought about (for Valentine's Day) putting a heart-shaped lollipop in each one?

You tell me...what would YOU do?

Friday, January 27, 2012

I've Been Tagged!


One of my favorite bloggers, Pam at over50feeling40, has tagged me with a "get-to-know-the-blogger" thing.  A fun opportunity for (not literally!) navel-gazing. :)

It involves answering 11 questions posed to me by Pam…. then confessing 11 random things about me…and finally asking my own 11 questions of 11 other bloggers. Here we go!

Here are the questions Pam asked me...

1. Name one lesson you have learned from blogging?--That I can come up with  a post that I think is extremely interesting, appealing and well-written, and I won't get one single comment on it...whereas something I just threw on there will get a lot of response! So, patience and trying not to be too competitive, because I'm never going to be a superstar blogger.

2. What makes you smile?--My two grandsons, Payton (almost 5) and Josiah (2).  Even just looking at pictures or videos of them, I'll catch myself with a silly grin on my face!

3. What do you enjoy most about being a woman?--Wow...so many things.  But honestly?  I think I love dressing up and "fixing up." 

4. What is one thing you would tell young girls to remember when they get older?--That EVERYTHING has consequences.  Good and bad.  Too much tanning? You'll have wrinkles way before your time.  Those tattoos that look so cute now?  They're going to look ghastly when you get older...especially that cute little one on your tummy.  Make a good skin care regimen a daily part of your life now? It will pay dividends when you're older.

5. You wish you had learned to : sew and play the piano.

6. Your favorite place in the whole world is: Austin, TX.  Just because that's where so many people  I love are.

7. If you were stuck in an elevator, who would you like to be stuck with: my sisters.

8. The next book you want to read is: I just started my first Elizabeth George mystery (A Great Deliverance)on Kindle, and I checked out the next two in the series from the library.  So it will be Payment Upon Death.

9. Hardwood floors or carpet?--Depends on the room.  I love hardwood floors, but there's something about a nice cushy carpet in a den or family room.

10. Coffee or tea?--Coffee in the morning, but I love a good cup of tea as well.

11. Dresses or jeans?--I really do love dresses, and a comfortable dress can be even more comfortable than a pair of jeans.  But there's a time and a place for both!
And here are the 11 random things about me:

1.  I love the sound of Celtic music.  Even bagpipes.

2.  I started working in radio when I was 19 years old.

3.  I do calligraphy pretty well...I've even been paid to do it!

4.  My favorite kind of movies are romantic comedies that aren't filthy...and sadly, they're few and far between.

5.  My favorite book in the world other than the Bible is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

6.  I like to fly, but I could NEVER jump out of an airplane.

7.  My favorite drink in the world used to be Coca Cola, but I have not had more than a few sips of it since I was diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetic in 2007.

8.  I once covered a murder trial in which the suspect (already a convicted murderer) escaped while being escorted to the courtroom.  (He was found, convicted of that murder, and has since been executed.)

9.  I dream about visiting Ireland, but also England and Scotland.  And Paris!

10.  I've been told I do a really good impression of Dolly Parton singing.

11.  I love to sing.

OK, now I'm going to cheat a little...

Rather than singling bloggers out to tag, I'm going to invite you to answer the questions Pam asked me on your own blog, along with the 11 things about yourself.  If you want to make up questions and tag others, feel free!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oh, How Pinteresting! (a little late) 1/25/12

Linking up (admittedly a bit late in the day!) with Oh, How Pinteresting!, hosted by the Vintage Apple. Just a quick review of some of the cool things I've seen on Pinterest lately...

I think this photo of classic Hollywood actress Marion Davies is captivating...

I fell in love with this beautiful book nook...

Excellent advice.

I love this watercolor by Alexandre Serebriakoff.

Ola, Santorini, Greece. Take me there NOW, please!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Review of Books: The Hunger Games

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in the upcoming "The Hunger Games" movie

After months (years?) of hearing about this book, and the trilogy that it launches, I finally succumbed and read The Hunger Games.

Why had I resisted for so long?  Well, I'm kind of ambivalent about dystopian fiction.  Some of it I'm perfectly fine with, intrigued and captivated even.  But some of it I find just too bleak and depressing.

I'm one who often uses fiction as an escape from reality.  Our own world is awful enough--why escape into a world that's even worse?

But after several friends and loved ones told me that, basically, the story trumps the bleakness in The Hunger Games, I downloaded it on my Kindle, and on a day or two with plenty of time on my hands, I dove in.

My verdict?

I really liked it.

I was hooked from the beginning, when we first meet Katniss Everdeen, a young girl doing her best to help her family survive in a world where food is hard to come by and death by starvation is an everyday affair.

Katniss is a real heroine--brave, intelligent, spirited, and skilled as a huntress.  You like her immediately and are rooting for her right off the bat.

And that's a good thing, because she's about to be plunged into the worst ordeal that could befall a young person in her world.

The Story

The Hunger Games are the ultimate reality show.  Two young people, a boy and girl, from each of 12 Districts in this post-apocalyptic America (now called Panem), will be dropped into an "arena" where they must not only survive, but fight to the death.  The last one standing is the victor.

(The "arena" varies from year to year, from desolate and barren landscapes to those filled with trees and bodies of water.  Basically, whatever the "Gamekeepers" think will make the most entertaining show for the audience.)

As it turns out, the boy from Katniss' district that accompanies her to the Hunger Games is Peeta Mellark, a baker's son who years ago literally saved her and her family from starvation by a single kind act.

The two are mentored by Haymitch, a past Hunger Games victor who is drunk more often than not.  They come up with a strategy to please the "Gamekeepers" and the audience of this intricate reality show.  They'll pretend that Peeta is madly in love with Katniss, and that the two are star-crossed lovers.

But only one can emerge the victor, right?  So not only must Katniss guard herself from actually feeling affection for Peeta, she must remember that ultimately, one or both of them is going to die.

What I Thought

Well, the story did trump the bleakness.

Suzanne Collins is definitely a great storyteller.  Her background in television writing is obvious, as the book practically translates itself into a movie as you're reading it (and of course, it will be a movie, coming out in March.)

While she's a good writer, she's no better than a host of other writers.  For instance, while reading this, I thought of  Lisa T. Bergren's River of Time series, which also features a brave, spirited, skilled young woman.  Instead of a dystopian setting, Bergren's heroines (Gabriela and her sister) go back in time to medieval Italy, a place teeming with just about as much danger and violence as any postapocalyptic world.

Bergren is every bit as good a writer as Collins.  Collins just came up with this incredible story and she tells it beautifully.

The Hunger Games is an automatic page-turner, because the reader is so invested in Katniss and whether or not she'll survive, you simply can't wait to find out what happens.  Every page is another adventure.

My Thoughts: The Spiritual?

One thing I couldn't help but notice was the complete lack of spirituality in the book.  It makes sense, of course, because obviously this is a world where the idea of God and/or religion has been completely done away with.

For example, there are frequent mentions of special days like one's birthday and New Year's Day, but no mention of Christmas.

Katniss never once calls upon or reaches toward anything higher than herself.  As a Christian, that struck me.  I can't imagine being in extreme peril and not being able to cry out to God.

The world in which Katniss lives is clearly Godless.  And it has reached a point where life has obviously so little value that the society can eagerly and happily be entertained by a lavish production that ends in the deaths of 23 young people.

In this way, the book reminds me of the Roman Empire at the height of its excess and bloodthirstiness.  Just as the Romans eagerly watched Christians being eaten by lions, the society Katniss inhabits takes avid pleasure in watching the gory deaths of the young people.

(The comparison to Roman times is actually fairly clear in the book--even with many of the residents of "the Capitol" having Roman names like Octavia, Flavius, etc., and people like the Gamekeepers sitting at perpetual banquets where they gorge themselves on food and wine.)

You can't help but look at our own society and wonder just how much (or how little) it would take to get us to that point.

Bottom Line...

The bottom line is that The Hunger Games fills all my requirements for a great read:  compelling, intriguing story that keeps me turning pages; characters I care about and become fully invested in, and good writing to make the story come to life.

Do I think it's any better than a host of other books I've read?  No...obviously, like the Twilight series and others, it has just had the fortune to appear at the right time to appeal to a huge audience--and to young people who may just now be realizing how awesome a good book can be.

I will definitely read the other two books in the trilogy.

I'm linking up today with Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books--click the icon for more info!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Adventures in Hair Drying

Reminiscing about my complicated "hair routine"

Today is Hair Dryer Appreciation Day, according to halife.com. And boy, do I appreciate the hair dryers of today. And actually, all the hairstyling tools and products available today that WEREN'T there when I was a teen-aged girl in the 70s.

When I graduated from high school, the most popular and acceptable way to wear your hair was long, straight, and parted down the middle.

Not an easy feat when you were born with naturally curly hair.

When I think about the shenanigans I had to go through in order to come up with this look:

Yep, that's me.  And as you can see, even with my best efforts, I didn't get the board-straight look I wanted.  (Oh, Hot Tools Straightening Iron, where were you when I needed you!?)

Here's what I did to achieve the look:

  • Grew my hair out as long as I possibly could
  •  Washed my hair, rolled it on big curlers, and sat under an old-fashioned bonnet-style hairdryer for an hour.  (It's a wonder I didn't cook my brains!)
  •  Took the rollers out and put my hair in a pony-tail directly on top of my head.  Divided the pony-tail into two sections and rolled them with two orange-juice-can-sized rollers.
  •   Kept those in my hair for some time (overnight if possible) before brushing out my hair into a semblance of straightness.

I still can't believe I went through all that!

The 80's brought blessed relief.  I forgot bonnet-style hairdryers even existed.  It was the decade of BIG HAIR, and baby, I had it!  I was the envy of all my friends because I didn't need a permanent and never had.

It was too good to last.  Seemingly overnight, everyone was wearing stick-straight hair again. Once again, I was the odd girl out.

Fast forward to today.  Women everywhere embrace curls and volume as well as straightness.

If I want to have really straight hair, I have the tools to make it happen--the efficient blow-dryer, the powerful straightening iron, any number of pro-sleek and anti-humidity products.

Or...and I often do this...I can just let my hair be curly.  In that case, I don't even have to use a dryer--or I'll use mine with a diffuser attached.

But one thing I love is that, thanks to great hair-dryers and wonderful styling products, I HAVE OPTIONS! :)

What about you? Got any memories of crazy things you went through to achieve your hairstyle?  Will you be appreciating your blow-dryer today? Let me know in my comments section!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Visible Monday: Beachy Waves Hair on a Winter Day

It's 40 degrees with snow on the ground where I live, but that didn't stop me from wanting "beachy waves" today.

 I subscribe to Kate Bryan's Small Things Blog, watched her tutorial for loose "beachy" waves this morning, and thought "Why can't I try that?

So I did, and I think it came out OK! Not as awesome as Kate's of course, but her hair is just amazing.

That's one thing I've started doing just in the past couple of years--watching YouTube tutorials on everything from hairstyles to make-up to scarf-tying.  If I'm to be the best "woman of a certain age" I can be, then I need to stay on top of things.

There's no way I can look just like the young girls, nor would I even want to try.  But if there are some tips and tricks I can pick up, and some new looks I can adapt to my style, why not?

I'm  wearing an Ann Taylor Loft Outlet black V-neck here, but I thought I'd liven it up with a necklace I usually wear in the summertime.

Here's one side-view of the beachy hair.  No, it doesn't look as perfect as Kate's, but hey--if I was really on a beach it would look much worse than that! :)

And just to bring us back down to earth, this is what it actually looked like outside my house when I left for work this morning.  I have to say I love my red coat that I got at Macy's a couple of years ago.  It's stadium-length, warm and cozy, and brightens up even the dreariest winter days.  The scarf I got last year at Wal-Mart for 5 dollars...love it too!

I'm linking up with Visible Monday, hosted by Not Dead Yet Style--join the fun by clicking on the icon!

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole: A Smashing Pinterest Success!

One of the great things about Pinterest is the plethora of amazing recipes available. But although I have a "Food and Recipes" board chockfull of recipes I plan to try, I've actually gotten around to making just two of them.

Last night's Pinterest recipe endeavor was a SMASHING success. I made Kalyn's Stuffed Cabbage Casserole from Skinnytaste.com, a wonderful site that blogger Gina bills as "delicious low fat recipes from my family to yours."

As soon as I discovered this site on Pinterest, I immediately "followed" it and put the link on my sidebar.

2012 is the year of eating healthy for me and my husband. Recipes that fill his grown-man stomach but stick to our healthy mantra are, as my son would say, "money"!

Not only was this casserole delicious and filling, but judging by my blood sugar check this morning, it's very good for Type 2 diabetics as well.

Of course, you'll only like this recipe if you like cabbage...fortunately both my husband and I love it!

There is brown rice in the recipe, but some commenters at Skinnytaste say they substituted quinoa with excellent results. Others fiddled with the spices or made it with spicier or Italian-seasoned tomatoes or tomato sauce. There's lots of room for improvisation.

Some commenters also saved some valuable prep time by using bagged cole slaw, but I liked having the cabbage pieces a little bigger.

(The only way I had to modify it was that I couldn't find Sweet Hungarian Paprika at my local grocer, so had to use just regular paprika.)

Anyway, two thumbs up from both me and my hubby!

I'm linking up today to Company Girl Coffee, hosted by Home Sanctuary--click on the icon!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Oh, How Pinteresting! 1/11/12

Join me in Vintage Apple's weekly link-up aimed at showcasing the cool things you've seen on Pinterest lately!

Source: etsy.com via Cindy on Pinteres

Source: google.com via Cindy on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Cindy on Pinterest

Click on the icon to join the link-up!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Why Do You Read?

I rarely copy someone else's post in its entirety, but I'm almost going to do that right now...because this post so perfectly sums up all the reasons why I read.  Why I love to read, actually.

Carol of Magistra Mater starts out her post talking about how she's a schizophrenic reader.  Then she starts enumerating the reasons she reads--and lo and behold, Carol and I are kindred spirits:

I read because I like to read.
I read to learn facts. What does the third verse of In the Garden mean?
I read to be entertained. Tell me a story!
I read as a way to love others. Nothing like a kid on a lap with a book...
I read to show love to others. You like Dick Francis? Then I will read him, too.
I read to fulfill obligations. Carol, please read this and let me know what you think.
I read some titles because one is supposed to read them.
I read some titles to say I have read them. Shameless of me to admit it, but true.
I read so I won't be left behind. The buzz about Unbroken is one instance.
I read to nourish my soul.
I read because I'm bored.
I read because I'm tired.
I read some books to get them off my shelf. I could just remove them, but I want to read them!
I read because someone I admire recommended the book.
I read because someone I've never heard of recommended the book.
I read to escape unlovely tasks. A habit begun long ago when I had homework.
I read difficult books because they often reward the effort.  Vigorous reading gives me endorphins.
I read to quench my curiosity.
I read to kindle curiosity.

Go here to read the entire post, or just to browse the blog and enjoy Carol's thoughtful, intelligent book reviews.

And now to ask, as Carol did, why do YOU read?

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Visible Monday: What I Wore to a Winter Wedding

Jacket: Macy's clearance
Shell:  Gordman's
Skirt: Notations from Gordman's
Shoes--Victor, Bergner's clearance

OK, so I'm having a tough time figuring out the best way to take my own Outfit of the Day picture with my trusty little point-and-shoot. (Yes, I cut off the top of my head.)

 I do have a little tripod now that attaches to my camera, so I can perch it on things and self-take my picture. 

 However, I guess I'll never get those awesome magazine-quality shots that many of you get with your wonderful SLRs (not that I'm covetous or bitter. :))

Anyway...this is what I wore to the wedding of a co-worker Saturday.

I love the dark turquoise velvet jacket.  I got it last week on a 75% off clearance rack at Macy's...it was just under $15.00.  Saturday was unseasonably warm for Northern Illinois, so I didn't even have to wear a coat!

I love the way the jacket flares out in an almost peplum-fashion...it's flattering. 

I fiddled with some effects here to let you see just how pretty the color of the jacket is.

Here is my make-up look for the day.  (I once again broke fashion rules by wearing eye-shadow the color of my jacket.)

 On the lid I'm wearing  Estee Lauder Peacock Blue.
  On the crease (which you can't really see), I have black ELF shadow.  
Under the brow is something I'm loving, that my Clinique-selling daughter gave me for Christmas (among many other Clinique treasures!) It's an under-the-brow illuminator that gives just the right touch of shimmer for a fancy occasion. 
Mascara is Estee Lauder Sumptuous in black.
Eyeliner is (under eyes) Estee Lauder pencil liner, (above eye) ELF eyeliner.
Foundation is Estee Lauder Double Wear in Fresco.
Blush is MAC Mineralize in Gentle.
Lipstick is Estee Lauder Pure Color in Candy.
Lip gloss is Clinique Longlast Glosswear in Bamboo Pink.

Do you ladies have any ideas on other things I can do with this velvet jacket? This is the only way I've worn it...ideas are welcome!

I'm participating today in Visible Monday, hosted by Not Dead Yet Style...click on the icon to join the fun!

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