Friday, June 29, 2012

Blogging, Laundry and Ugly Underwear

An anecdote

Once upon a time there was a woman who decided to start blogging. She was having so much fun blogging every day that she stopped doing laundry. 

Eventually the only pair of shorts left to wear in her closet were a pair of white ones which required  precision underwear selection skills so as not be frowned upon by respectable southern women everywhere. You can only imagine the horror when the woman realized that the only pairs left in her drawer from which to choose had zebra stripes, SUNDAY FUNDAY across the backside or were hideous patterned granny panties!

The woman was very sad and realized that she had no choice but to stop blogging and do some laundry so that she could eventually leave the house again because she also needed to buy groceries and other necessities.  

Like toilet paper.  

And wine.

The End
(all photos courtesy of Google images)

À la vie et à l'amour

My Dad, Banana Republic and the Brown Living Room Set

My dad is a funny sort of chap (no, I'm not British but Chap is such a great word.) He has always had a deep affinity for outdoors-y stuff and over the years has delved deep into his hobbies. Some of his hobbies have included water-skiing, golfing, hunting, fishing, and dressing really snazzy. Actually, I would have to say that dressing snazzy is a 'lifestyle commitment' for him and not a hobby. The man is truly committed to looking sharp all the time (I think he might even iron his Pjs!) and has been his entire life!

Anyway, when I was in middle school some time during the 80s (gasp!) I remember one of my dad's favorite stores. The store carried what I now remember as, Elephant killing-mosquito swatting-palm tree chopping-everything in here is canvas and twill and brown - Safari Wear. But, I was still a kid and the store had a Jeep parked right in the middle of it and they had these little wooden bridges you could walk across to get to the various areas of the store and those parts alone were AWESOME even if the clothes looked to me like they had been made out of softened cardboard boxes. It was like walking into a store in the middle of an African jungle!

The store was Banana Republic and this is what it sometimes looked like:

 Crazy Safari Drivers!
And the clothes looked like this:

Clothes Made from Softened Cardboard Boxes

It's a far cry from today's storefront and clothing:

 Where's the Jeep?

Men in Pink Pants?  Hmmmmm...

(By the way – all of the photos above I found on Google images – don't want to get sued for using photos without telling people where I got them.)

I share these photos of Banana Republic's early days because it reminds me of my own decorating journey. Like many others when I began decorating my first home I had many missteps including trying to 'theme out' my entire house and choosing some pretty awful paint colors. I painted my rooms so many different times my husband said we lost square footage in that house because the wall paint got so thick.

Like me, my house is always a work in progress and constantly changing (hopefully improving.) I often have to work with items I acquired during my dark days of early decorating. My living room furniture is a prime example of this. I bought it from a mass retailer as a set. It was quite exciting – I got a sofa, loveseat, two side tables, a coffee table and lamps and it was all pre-coordinated for me so I didn't have to think or be creative at all! was all brown so it was completely kid friendly which was the prime goal after the 'White sofa and chocolate pudding incident' with daughter #1! wonderfully exciting. Yawn

 My Brown Living Room

10 years later I still have (most of) that matchy-matchy set and I hate it. I change out the throw pillows and try to decorate around it but I have come to realize that it's just not me and it really needs to go. Like Banana Republic, I have grown up and prefer a space that is more grown up and modern and have ditched my animal slaughtering safari days (although I do really love my unknown African animal rug in my living room and , I assure you, I played no part in its demise!)

I wanted to share with you some rooms that I find beautiful and inspiring as I continually try to update my own living room:

 Photo above from 
(The owner of this site, Bailey, has amazing and colorful rooms!)
Don't you just want to rub your cheek all over that green velvet sofa?

 This is Erin's living room from another one of my favorite sites,

 Found on 
A million times 'YES' to a hot pink coffee table!

 Another beautiful velvet sofa in this cinnamon red color - from  
I LOVE almost every room in her portfolio!

It took Banana Republic millions of dollars and several years to shed its original Safari image.  I certainly don't have millions of dollars budgeted for my living room so it may take me several decades to make it as stylish as I envision.  But as I sit next to my family on my brown sofa under the light of my brown lamps and set my wine glass on my brown table, I will see my animal rug under my coffee table, and hopefully be reminded of Banana Republic and their long journey to where they are today.

À la vie et à l'amour

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Buster's Tale/Tail

This is a true story about our dog, Buster.

Once upon a time there was a family who was experiencing apocalypse levels of stress. So, Dad and Daughter #2 decided a puppy would be the answer to all their problems! (WHAT!!!???)

After some research they decided on a unique white and tan wiener dog who was 3 months old and they drove 2 hours to pick him up. He barfed in the car on the way home and Mom was not happy.
New Puppy!

They named him Buster and Mom (who was still not happy because Buster was keeping her up all night whining in his crate) worked very hard every day while Dad was at work and Kids were at school to train Buster to be a good dog. Buster learned to sit, stay, lay down, and wait. He also learned how to ring a bell to be let outside to potty, and eventually he stopped whining when he went in his crate.

Buster was a good puppy. He loved everyone and everyone loved him. He ran up to the kids at school and wanted to be petted all the time and didn't bark much and played with toys and wagged his tail a lot. He also loved car rides (and never had barf issues after that first time.) And he LOVED to go for walks around the neighborhood. He liked to hold part of his leash in his mouth while he was walking so that he could 'walk himself.'

Buster and a Snowball

When Buster was only 4 months old he went on an adventure at the lake. He loved the lake and the open space, and being away from the city. During his adventure at the lake, Dad took the Kids and their Friends on a trailer ride. Buster wanted to go, too, because he loved the Kids and their Friends.  

During the trailer ride another dog who we will call BIG STUPID LAKE DOG decided to chase the trailer full of Kids and Friends. Even though he was still just a pup, Buster didn't like BSLD (Big Stupid Lake Dog) and he started barking and pulling at his leash trying to scare off BSLD so he wouldn't mess with Buster's Kids and Friends.

 Big Stupid Lake Dog

 Buster Pulling on His Leash

But Buster pulled too hard and his collar broke! He jumped out the side opening of the trailer and the trailer ran over his head. Poor Buster...

Mom and Dad rushed Buster to the vet who happened to be Daughter #1's Grandpa. Grandpa Vet said Buster had a concussion and a ruptured eardrum. He cleaned him up and gave him lots of medicines and said we'll just have to wait and see if he would be okay. Mom, Dad, Kids and Friends were all very sad. They left Buster with Grandpa Vet and drove back to the city the next day.

After about 24 really long hours Grandpa Vet sent some pictures of Buster with his eyes open. Then he sent pictures of Buster walking. Then he told us that Buster was able to go potty but he didn't send pictures of that because that's just gross and disturbing. After 6 days with Grandpa Vet we picked up Buster and brought him home.

 Buster At Grandpa Vet's with his IV

Buster still felt pretty bad and spent a lot of time resting in his crate or on his pillow. He was also hungry ALL the time and ate like a big pig! He also peed everywhere because he was too slow to make it outside quickly enough. He also growled at everyone because he was really grouchy from having his head run over by a trailer. And he stopped playing with toys and he never wagged his tail. He also didn't like to go for walks anymore. It was not a happy time for Buster and he was very depressed.

Buster Not Wanting to Take A Walk

Dad decided Buster needed a friend to help him recover so we bought him a puppy dog friend named Luna. Buster was not happy about Luna at first but Luna loved Buster even though he was messed up. After some time Buster decided he might like to be friends with Luna and eventually he even wagged his tail when they played. Then he decided to be friends with Mom and eventually he decided to be friends with Dad and Kids and didn't growl at them as much.

Buster's Friend, Luna

Buster is now 1 ½ years old and he's doing much better. He still loves food and treats and has learned new tricks. He goes potty outside and plays with his friend, Luna, and sometimes with his toys (but only the squeaky or crinkly ones.) He wags his tail a little when people come to the door and when he plays and sometimes he wags his tail when he sees Mom, Dad, or Kids!

He likes to run around around the pool and chase after the pool scooter and bark at it and wag his tail. He also likes to chase off birds and squirrels from the backyard and wag his tail. Sometimes Buster forgets that he loves us and gets confused and growls at us. Then he remembers that we scratch his ears and rub his belly and give him treats and he stops growling and just yawns instead. 

 Buster Now

There were times when Mom and Dad thought Buster might have to be given up for adoption or put to sleep because he seemed so unhappy. But they decided to be very patient with him and try different things to see if he got better because even though he's a little messed up, he's family and we love him just like we do with ALL of our messed up family members! 

Buster Loves Naps

And that's Buster's tale/tail!

À la vie et à l'amour

My Dark Secret...& Fondue

I could say various things about myself such as:
I am “budget conscious”
I am “frugal”

or how about
I am “thrifty”

but let's just call a spade a spade.

I am cheap.

Not the cheap like Britney Spears or a handbag knock off with cracking fake leather handles or lady of the night cheap. I mean cheap as in I don't like to pay a lot of money for stuff. Don't get me wrong – I LOVE the 'good stuff' but would rather go without something than pay a lot of money for it. It's odd, too, because I DON'T come from a family of cheapskates. My entire family is comprised of hard-working individuals who live comfortably and somehow I, too, despite my cheapness, have some very nice things.

Which brings me to my dark secret.

I love treasure hunting – at antique stores, flea markets, Ebay, garage sales and, yes, Thrift Stores. I know there are many people who would not be caught dead in a Thrift Store and I will admit – some of them can be a bit...sketchy. And smelly. And sticky (don't even ask!) But it's a heck of a lot more fun to find a treasure for $10 at the Thrift Store rather than paying $50 for the same thing at the Antiques Store. Which brings me to part 2 of my post.


I took one of my daughters to the Thrift Store yesterday. She is on the hunt for crappy old jeans to cut up and dye and make into something fabulous she saw on Pinterest. (You can follow her or check out her Pinterest here.) So, whilst she is exploring the jeans I went on my own treasure hunt. And there it was in all its glory – a vintage aluminum FONDUE POT! I felt like I had gotten away with something when I tucked it under my arm to take to the check out. I am almost embarrassed to tell you how much it was but I have to because that's the best freakin' part! It was only $4.00!

We brought it home and washed it out and had a fantastic mom/daughter night with cheese fondue and steak. Here is my beautiful new Fondue pot ready for us to enjoy :

I don't know what it is about Fondue and vintage Fondue pots and skewers but I love them with all my heart. This one makes #3 (yes, my lucky number) in the Fondue pot collection. If you are also a Fondue lover and want to try the recipe I used click here. It's super easy and really delicious!

Last thing - I decided to be all clever and sign off each of my posts (if I can remember to do it each time) so here goes:

À la vie et à l'amour

À la vie et à l'amour

In high school I took French. I chose French because when I was little I took ballet and already knew a lot of French words. Yep, it was a pretty stupid reason. I really love the French language but have found that when one lives in California (where I lived at that time) and then Texas (where I have lived for all but those 4 dark years of my high school life), French is not a very useful language.

Anyway, my high school French teacher was a pretty cool old guy even though he wore too many sweater vests and his pants way too high. He did have a kind face complete with floppy bulldog style cheeks and he was an excellent French teacher.  There were several kids in our class who were a bit obnoxious, though, and somehow we managed to bully talk Mr S into letting us have a Cheese Party during class one day. The only way we could do this was if everyone brought in money to buy the party items and they all had to be French related. So we had croissants and various cheeses, french bread, etc. We weren't allowed to have wine so we had grape juice, although I imagine Mr S would have LOVED to have partaken of something stronger just to get through our class period.

The party was going well (as long as you don't include the stinky Camembert cheese adventure which pretty much made the whole room reek and resulted in a pile of regurgitated cheese in the classroom trash can) and Mr S gloriously raised his cup of grape juice in a traditional French toast and said with a jovial smile:

À la vie et à l'amour which means, To life and to love”

We sat there with our cups of grape juice halfway to our lips and stared at him for just a few seconds before the entire class, except the girl who sat next to me reading her paperback smut novels all year, launched into a tirade about how it should be, “To LIVE and to love” because “To LIFE and to love” doesn't make sense! How can you LIFE something?

He tried explaining for the remainder of the Cheese Party that it's a toast to two nouns (life and love) not to two verbs (live and love).  Some of us got it but the imbeciles just couldn't wrap their tiny nugget brains around the concept.  Poor Mr S... we ruined his beautiful Cheese Party toast.

Alas (I love that word), that is the story behind my Blog title. I know, it's pretty amazing, right!

Blog Attempt...Take 3

I have no idea how to start a blog! I assure you I am a reasonably intelligent person. My first attempt at blogging was more than 2 months ago. I posted once and when I tried to add another post I couldn't figure out how to get back into my page. Blog attempt #1 – FAIL.

I started a new blog yesterday and found that every blog title I wanted was already taken. So I chose something completely absurd (I think I had already had too much coffee by that time!) This morning I had to kill that blog because I knew the blog title would drive me crazy if I had to see it every time I wanted to post something. Blog attempt #2 – FAIL.

So here I am at attempt number 3 (which happens to be my LUCKY NUMBER!) I had originally planned to have a blog that was mostly about decorating. But as I've been jotting down blog post ideas I came to the realization that much of what I want to blog about has nothing to with decorating. So it's it's just going to be an 'all-purpose' blog. I'm not here to change the world or win any awards. Blogging is just cheaper than therapy.