The chief enemy of creativity... is "good" sense. ~Pablo Picasso

Oops... all berries :)

Food has taken on another value in the last 8 months. 
Not only is it my one outlet, it has made me so much more appreciative, nostalgic and ridiculous.

I love sweets, and it's no secret. But now that my indulgence is food, it has sort of taken on a new life. 
In college I used to have Twizzlers and Peanut M&M's almost all the time. 
(My rationale was - Twizzlers were a fat free food, and Peanut M&M's had peanuts in them!)

However, in order to keep consumption in check I would hide them from myself. 
(Most of you are probably laughing to yourself thinking... how can you hide them from yourself you idiot - that's your problem... while those of you who know me pretty well are probably aware of my terrible memory and can see how this worked)

I'll continue. 
So, for me, it actually worked pretty well. Out of sight out of mind. Then every once in awhile when I'd have a hankering for something sweet, it usually came to mind I already had some, and if I gave it a few minutes I 
A. Forgot where they were and the urge passed....
2. I'd remember and be pleasantly surprised. 

Well a few of my latest guilty pleasures have ventured past the usual Peanut M&M's and Twizzlers and now... thanks to all the research assuring me Dark Chocolate is good for me - I have found Dark Chocolate Mint M&M's.... I keep in the freezer. Achieving the "out of sight out of mind" principle as well as making them rather hard to chew so - I usually only have a few. Plus the mint makes a nice after dinner send off.

But the other day at the grocery store I came across something I have a real soft spot for. Normally I can cruise past the candy aisle - I honestly have a hard time actually picking up and then downing an entire snickers (although fun size sure are fun) but if I'm looking for a nice little treat - Fig Newtons are always a favorite of mine... and they're figs! 

Sorry back to the mental break down moment in the grocery store - it was the cereal aisle. This aisle always causes a bit of a mental battle for me. As a kid my mom didn't allow sugary cereals in the house. It was Raisin Bran, All Bran, Total, etc. NEVER Frankenberry, Trix, Lucky Charms or heaven forbid... Cookie Crisp. I know it's not good for you... all that sugar in the morning, afternoon or as a dessert but I do have a weakness for some Cartoon leading, sugar filled, brightly colored, marshmallow laden cereals...

So Imagine my surprise when I came across this...

Yes, that is the Cap'n himself... with all the berries, and no crunch... isn't that what we always dreamt of...???

I didn't let my reason get the best of me this time. That box went in the basket, up to the register, out the door and I've been slowly enjoying a small bowl on a very stringent schedule to make it last as long as possible. 

This is one of those times when it's not necessarily 
"Good for you..."

But I like to think when I see myself in the mirror I say... 
Good.... for you :)

Seriously... what if it was an Ooops.... and they never make that cereal again? At least I can say I was a part of history. Kind of like being a Goonies kid. Because down here in sugared cereal land... "it's our time"

woe is me... a trip to the DMV

If there might be something worth paying a lot for... for me it would be a stand-in at the DMV.

The state of California made a mistake. Shocking. My new drivers license comes in the mail... a month after I spent 4 hours sitting in that waiting room and it's wrong. Yes they asked if the information was correct before I left - but it was the form I filled out correctly - not the way you typed it in... incorrectly. 
My birthday is in September (9) not April (4) which is what my ID says. I can see how easily that can be confused... And since I wasn't all that worried about it being right... I never changed it. 

Until... the guy at the airport gave me a hard time. 
With a lot of travel in the upcoming year I thought I might try to nip this problem in the bud before it became too much of an issue at a very inopportune time. 
Headed back to the DMV to try and make things right. In my possession I have the incorrect ID and my passport. Because your passport is the ultimate identification right?
The lady says I have to bring in my birth certificate (even though the birth certificate is what verified my date of birth for my passport...) I mostly see her eyelids, since she doesn't make a lot of eye contact. They're colored a nice "calming" lavender clear up to her eyebrows. I try and take a hint and calmly do as she asks. 

I know I'm an impatient person and so instead of arguing with her I agree to go home, get my birth certificate and come back... Yes, that means, pull another number and wait... again. Like I said, a good lesson on the importance of patience.

When I return, birth certificate in hand, I take a number and wait patiently. My number is called and I make my way up to the woman with the very familiar purple eyeshadow... again. 
I explain my situation - because she doesn't really seem to recall our conversation just a few hours ago (again, she sees a lot of people, and I'm working on my patience... right)

Again she explains to me that I will need to verify my birth date with my birth certificate. Armed with the correct documents this time I hand over my birth certificate. The only birth certificate I've ever seen, I've ever had. She looks at me and says... 

 "we don't accept miniatures."
 I kindly offer my passport as a secondary reference for my date of birth and she nods her head no. My brain is saying a lot of things at this point but I try and maintain my composure and ask, 

"out of curiosity - what does the "size" of the paper have anything to do with the information that it contains?"

"We don't accept miniatures" She replies

"But this is the only birth certificate I have... that I've ever had. This is the birth certificate I brought in with my a few months ago that this office accepted as a legal form and... this is the birth certificate I sent out with my other legal documents to get my passport renewed just a few months ago... and the federal government seemed to be ok with it?"

"We don't accept miniatures. You'll have to call the state of Iowa and ask for a new one" she responds

"But this is the one they issued my parents when I was born, so how do I go about asking for one that isn't a "Miniature" - what if this is the only sized birth certificate the state of Iowa offers?"

"Well we don't accept miniatures" she again responds. 

She then hands me a sheet of paper where she has scribbled down the number in Iowa that I should call to get a new birth certificate. I step aside and make the call right then and there. 

"I'm sorry the number you have dialed has been disconnected or changed"
Of course it has... 

Anyone want to stand in for me at the DMV - or attempt to contact the state of Iowa with a request for a "non miniature" birth certificate? 

They way I see it, I've already been there twice, so it's certainly not something new!!!

                      Patience, n. A minor form of dispair, disguised as a virtue.
 -Ambrose Bierce
The Devil's Dictionary, 1911 

5 people 1 guitar = 37 million hits

So a band wants to cover a song. 
There are 5 people in the band... but only one guitar.

What do they do?
All 5 members, play one guitar... Resourceful creativity at it's finest. 
And now... They're innovation has paid off. 
They've performed on the Ellen Show, and they have almost 37 million hits on YouTube. 

This is great news for the cover band Walk off the Earth - and it's allowed the original artist Aussie Gotye to hit #18 on iTunes!

And then it paid off again on the Ellen show... see what she gives them at the end of their performance :)

"Glistening" or Greasy - either way it's in!

Does he look worried to you?

That's because he is...

As many of you know, I travel a lot for a living. 
My year of nothingnewforayear has been partially because of this travel, and most importantly the abundance of toiletries I had accumulated thanks to many hotel stays, but today I realized it's also the reason I was able to make it the last 8 months. 

As I squirted out the last of a tiny hotel shampoo bottle and made my way to the inventory basket to find it's replacement, I was surprised to find, I'm running dangerously low. 
As panic slowly gripped my airwaves, my brain kicked in (shocking... I know) probably sheerly out of survival mode and last 8 months flashed before my eyes. Thank you Hollywood for creating a scene we've all seen in the movies... the attack of an empty shampoo bottle...

During the holidays I wasn't traveling as much and so I've become painfully aware of how much I rely on hotel toiletries... Thankfully I was home for a few days - thank you mom for having a nice little array of options for me to indulge in while I was there... but reality has hit. Guess I'll be venturing more into the dry shampoo world... Haven't really dabbled much with that so if you see me in the upcoming days and something looks a little off - you'll know why.

And I thought conditioner was always going to be the problem!

Guess there's no better reason to hit the gym :) Free, crappy shampoo. Hopefully all my diligently saved conditioner will help... say a prayer.

P.S. According to Harpers Bazaar... "glistening" hair is in for Spring 2012 - the new buzz word for greasy? ha - maybe this all happened for a reason :)

See for yourself!
"Glistening hairstyles for 2012"

eau de detergent

I've mentioned before my love affair with scents... and the harsh reality that my all time favorite perfume has had to sit largely unused during the last 8 months in order to make it last the whole year. 

Well, let's be honest. It's kind of weird to go to the gym smelling like an expensive bottle of perfume. It's weird to throw on some old clothes to clean the house and smell like that either (although I don't mind - I suppose it's unnecessary)... for those instances, I prefer the smell of detergent. Really... good... detergent. 

When I was a kid a lot of my friends lived in "new" houses. They were often the first occupants. We did not.
Our houses were the "fixer uppers".
We were the family that always sought out bent cans at the grocery store, dug through the "remnant" pile at the fabric store, and bought our detergent in 20 gallon buckets from who knows where.
It was smell-less. My mom only cared about how white our whites were (which came from her trusty bleach concoctions) and that we didn't look "dirty". A certain scent??? that's a bunch of hooey she'd say. We can do a load of laundry for 6 cents! 
As a kid I wasn't too aware of our differences from other families in many of these ways, until my school uniform never smelled like the other kids. 

Junior high saw yet another move for my family, I think it was #5 or 6. It was my first time going to a private school and my first uniform. Thanks to my parents thrifty ways....With mom at work that first day the nuns handed me a very faded and 3 times too big navy sweatshirt with our school name on it, a 'peter pan' collared shirt and a plaid skirt that hit my shins. My teeth were crisscrossed in front of each other and my mother had only recently agreed to let me grow out my permed mullet and bangs.
(Thankfully I had the spelling bee champion title from my old school under my belt - or perhaps it was that I spent more time hanging with my friends parents that kept me from getting beat up.)

She didn't think it was necessary to pop for the brand new, dark navy, brand new smelling sweatshirts... the old ones would do just fine. (come to think of it, she was starting this whole not being wasteful thing... right? why manufacture a new sweatshirt when there was a perfectly wearable, although faded and worn out one right here for 1/3 of the price.)

If that wasn't enough, at my first sleep over I became very aware that apparently we were one of the only families that cooked at home... or... that our home was so small, our clothes smelled like we cooked in our closets. 

All the other girls' uniforms and sleeping bags carried the most incredible aromas I'd ever smelled. They weren't all the same, but they were all incredible. And their houses! They had these pretty little rooms we weren't allowed to play in, where dried potpourri wreaths hung on the walls, and in bowls. And their laundry rooms emitted those aroma's I'd smelled at school...It was like a dream. That's where I vowed to get a good job so I could afford the luxury of the expensive detergent.

It soon became my job at slumber parties... sniffing out our identical uniforms and placing them with their rightful owners. The twins mom used Tide with bleach, so did Tanya's mom (They were probably the kids who came home with more grass stains). That was kind of tricky, but I basically lived at the Twins house so I just knew which ones were theirs.
 Gina's mom used All,  and so did Tiffany's but Tiffany's mom had all that potpourri so hers had a tinge of dried flowers. While two of the Stephanies both used Cheer, one of them spent a lot of time with her grandparents and they smoked so that's how we could tell them apart.
It was fascinating to me.

I was happy to always be the sniffer because then no one had to sniff mine... which would likely tell you that my mom had a love affair with bleach and drank a pot of coffee a day, my father loved to pretend he was Italian and our house was so small that when mom decided to use the smoke detector as her timer... the smell permeated all 1,100 square feet. Including the closets.

Needless to say, when I reached an age where I was purchasing detergent for myself I would spare no expense on price. At first I thought being able to afford Tide meant I had finally made it.

It was good, but after the initial bottle I realized there were so many smells out there! Now, I stand in the aisle removing lids and sniff each bottle.  Even their cleaning power doesn't really factor in. Isn't that sad? My mom would be so disappointed... but my true love... is smell. As far as I'm concerned people won't notice if my whites aren't as white if they're mesmerized by how good I smell... maybe I'm wrong, but living in clothes all day long that continually emit the most amazing scent, is where it's at for me.

For awhile I was all about Gain - the Red bottle - Apple Mango

But I really love the Febreeze Spring Renewal... and then I noticed they had mixed that smell with detergent... so I had to buy it...

I figure it's cheaper than perfume... and I can't really buy it used... so my new favorite "perfume" the one that comes with cleaning power and costs anywhere from $.20 - $.70 a load - so be it.

So thanks mom and dad for helping me learn how to cook, and the importance of good working smoke alarms... And of course the appreciation of a hard earned dollar saved by being a good shopper and resourceful and useful in the kitchen because now... I can splurge on detergent rather than costly perfume.

I love the smell of detergents.

P.S. pie plate made it home. Crisis averted

say goodbye to my apple pie

So here's the deal. 
I sent this pie off to some worthy pie consumers.
The problem is... that's my only pie plate. 
How else do you transport a pie... if you're not buying disposable pie plates?

I thought about trying to unedge (is that a word?) it and place it in a box, but I worked so hard on that lattice that I'll be damned if I was going to risk messing it up. 

If it doesn't come back... which I'm fairly certain, it won't 
(not because the pie consumers are klepto's... but because the pie consumers are boys)

Am I justified to go get another one... (granted it's found at the Goodwill)? 
Can/should the rule be reversed... one out - one IN? 

How will the world exist if I stop making desserts?
(More like, how will I exist... if I stop making desserts? probably thinner!ha)

P.S. I'd like to point out, that although most of my banana bread arrives sliced down the middle (a random test conducted by me to enusre quality...) I managed to pass this ENTIRE pie along, without snagging a bit of it. Thank you. 

A field of Dreams

Iowa... even the airport is A field of Dreams...

Upon arrival in Iowa I was so excited about my first stop that I managed to run right past the gift shops. 
First temptation averted. 

My next stop was my beloved Pancheros... 
It was a college staple. Sometimes I would splurge and actually get the chicken quesadilla... with sour cream, but only for special occasions. 
But almost everyday I'd have to walk past the smell of freshly pressed tortillas, especially prominent in the winter months, and have to wipe the drool away... just to head home and eat a bowl of Kix for lunch. The shoestring college budget just didn't allot for eating out everyday, but the smell alone would send my brain a spinning. 

After a few weeks of torment I unconsciously found myself walking inside on a random weekday... I suppose it was bound to happen. 
Standing in the doorway I watched as other kids laughed and ordered their Chicken quesadillas, and sour cream, and even the extra luxury...guacamole...

I wasn't angry, per se... but I wasn't happy. 
(That alone should have been reason enough to graduate and get a good job...)

My eyes were drawn to the woman behind the counter as she pulled out the gooey balls of dough, placed them on the press and then would fling them onto the big grill. Tortilla after tortilla went from dough to delectable right before my eyes....
It finally dawned on me that I rarely followed the process down to the salsa selection. For me, the thrill was in the tortilla. As the lunch crowd grew, I felt awkward just standing in there not placing an order but... an idea had come to me. 

The following day I had class in the afternoon. This time as I approached Pancheros there was no crowd. It was the in-between-lunch-and-dinner-lull and "conditions were perfect". 
(If you haven't seen Flight of the Conchords... I'd recommend it... only if you're up for a laugh) 

As I made my way inside, the pressure was off. One of the workers casually made their way to me. Nervous and yet giddy I asked the woman, quietly, if I could just buy a tortilla? 
She looked at me a little quizzically, and then turned to the others... they shrugged their shoulders indicating - why not? 
It had worked! 
The gooey ball of dough came off the sheet, onto the press, flung onto the grill and a few seconds later it was being wrapped up in foil and slid down the counter towards the cash register. The guy asked me for 50 cents. 
50 Cents!!!

For 50 cents... I could do this... at least twice a week! 
Needless to say, it became my

I've always said... it's all about the tortilla!

It looks like word has gotten around.

The good news, is of course, food is in! I managed to go to Pancheros three times that trip... twice - in one day! I like to think of it as an anniversary gift to myself for graduating! ha
But the return trip to the airport and the walk past the airport gift shops was still ahead. 

And the taunting foam corn hats...

and ridiculous shirts like this...

Thankfully the camera on my phone has acted as a sort of a way to "have" these items without actually purchasing them. I can wistfully pick up my phone anytime and take a look. It's pretty good really, because when would I actually wear that... ok maybe on RAGBRAI, and on Iowa pride day
 (there is Iowa pride day right??)

Click it... before you Pick it... 

One from Toms, one from Anns.

Nothingnewforayear comes with some rules. 
One of the big questions pertains to Gifts. 

Gifts are acceptable, but if something comes in, something must go out...
Enter TOMS. 
Toms is a shoe company, with a twist. 

Per their website:
In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers.

Sounds like we're working off a similar philosophy... 
Well this weekend, I was privileged enough to be a part of a wonderful wedding. The bride is a very dear friend who not only is a beautiful lady, but also a very cognizant individual. She introduced me to the world of TOMS and their message. 
As you can imagine I was thrilled when she asked me to be a bridesmaid, but was even more overjoyed when one of my bridesmaid gifts included a sparkly, pink pair of TOMS!

It didn't stop there... She also wore a pair of TOMS - fit for a bride.
which means... not only were shoes donated to those in need on our behalf from TOMS, but since I'm also adhering to a similar process, now 2 pairs of shoes will be donated.

One time I worked on a show that highlighted all the "gifts" a person could buy that would somehow also benefit a charity. For example, if you buy RED products the proceeds benefit AIDS research, we all know about products that are pink... etc. 

Just a nice reminder that if you do buy things that are "new" you can still make that benefit more than just the manufacturing company... if you know where to look. 

Happy Shopping... no pressure :)

P.S. If you're worried that since I can't buy anything new for a year... the poor bride and groom suffered getting one of my DIY craft projects... think again. One of the other "rules" is that existing gift cards in my possession can be used to purchase "new" items - but only for other people. 

And so those Pottery Barn gift cards I still hadn't used, came up big. For the happy couple moving to Japan in a few weeks - some Monogrammed, leather luggage tags, and a monogrammed Christmas ornament. I know it's no Kitchenaid Mixer but they'll be stuffing themselves with so much sushi they'd forget how to use it! ha

Bobby pins, the multi-tool

I wouldn't say I'm an anxious person per say... but there are a few things that make me a little nervous. 
Getting my hair done for an event at a salon... may be #1 on my list. 

I love people playing with my hair. It might be the most calming and therapeutic act you can do for me - given I don't plan on actually keeping my hair that way. 

I've seen so many girls arrive at Prom with an "updo" that is plastered to their heads and wanted to cry for them. Unfortunately I have also been on the receiving end of that hairdo. I paid the woman for her time and promptly ran home, washed it out and started over. 
And so for the rest of my life, I have insisted on doing my own hair. Yes, this has resulted in screaming matches with my loving mother who tries to step in and "help". I've also spent entire evenings upset with myself and my not so skilled attempts at hairstyling but... I never wasted money on it, and there was only one person to blame. But I have gotten better... not great, but better. 

Well, every once in a while I think it's important to give various things a second chance. Tomatoes on sandwiches for example... skinny jeans... and sometimes they work out, and sometimes they don't....

Well this weekend I was in a wedding. Against my usual rumblings, I agreed to let someone do my hair. It's best to keep brides happy... so I went along with the program. 

A few days before the big day I was reminded of my "hair appointment". The wave of dread came crashing over me and I immediately tried to subtly find a way out. My attempts were futile and the "appointment" was written in ink. 

I met the young lady and laid it all out...pre-empting the questions I was sure would surface...
 - I didn't find myself at salons very often, 
- I had no interest in switching my part to the other direction (why do they always ask you that??) 
- I apologized that I often wielded the scissors myself - (therefore the busted looking "bangs" were no longer the elephant in the room )
- yes, I "brighten" my naturally dishwater blonde hair with the... God Forbidden "Sun In" 
-and no matter how many times I've been told that it leaves a residue on your hair... Pantene was my go to. (until this year of course... in which case any shampoo droplet I can find will do) 

Thankfully, she was very kind, and helpful... she actually trimmed up those "bangs" I cut out of annoyance one day and managed to do my hair in a fashion that did not require shellacking it to my head.

I'm the farthest to the left. 

My faith has now been semi-restored... but the even better revelation was when I started taking them out before I went to bed that night. Although under my breath there may have been some rumblings as the removal seemed never ending - there was a silver lining...
A nice little bonus to a cute 'do... 36 bobby pins to add to my dwindling stock!

I admit, I google/wikipedia just about everything. Did you know

Recently, due to their (Bobby pins) cheapness, strength and durability, hair grips have been applied for a variety of different uses. In Africa, Bobby pins are systematically used to repair inoperative sandals.[citation needed] The tactic, simple yet refined into an elegant trade, has been incorporated by both nationals and expatriates living alongside each other throughout all regions of the continent.[citation needed]

And that's not all! More websites have informed me they can be used as:
-book marks
-lock picks
-screw drivers
-a painting tool for your fingernails (if you like polka dots)
the list goes on and on...

It seems I've been gifted with more than just a sweet hair do, some free bobby pins, and now... even more ideas for how to use these clever little things! ha Who woulda thunk it :)

ever wondered why they call them bobby pins...? Me too.

Made to a Tea!

So I've heard about the factory tour at Celestial Seasonings, but I finally had the chance to experience it first hand. The most talked about portion of the tour for most people is the mint room... It can be overwhelming for some, but I'm a smell person. If it were up to me, there would be no limit on how much perfume a person could wear... I even looked into putting a smelly thing you can buy at the store to put on your furnace filter to make your house smell good. 
The mint room was pretty awesome... but for me, it was this dress made from tea bags that really blew me away. 

Having made a dress myself out of an unlikely product (swim caps) I was very impressed. 

But this group took it to an entirely different level. It didn't stop at the dress. Heels covered in tea bags, a purse and a hat accompanied this fine piece of art. It made me feel like I had only scratched the surface of what I could do with more swim caps... 

I'm an incessant "googler" so naturally I got online to find out the whole story. Turns out, it wasn't just to see if they could make a dress out of tea bags, it was to help raise awareness for heart disease too... 
Maybe I should make another swim cap dress to raise awareness for swimmers ear? ha 
Either way... here's the whole story. Pretty impressive and inspirational. Stay tuned... :)

A simple lesson from a 7 year old...

If life seems too complicated, ask a kid...

The other day I was with my niece and we were making sugar cookies. I asked her to pick from the 20+ cookie cutters....just 4 we would use. I've done this too many times to know the more shapes, the more colors of frosting, the more complicated. And then... half, or more, of the cookies never get decorated.
Immediately, my own mind started racing, weighing her options. 
The heart is an easy one, the flowers are always pretty too... who uses a dinosaur? if we use the star and the flowers and the circle we can make yellow frosting which will work on all three, and then we can make red frosting for the hearts, and...

Long before I could have made "the most logical" choices...
She pulled out her four.
The dinosaur, the train, the teddy bear, and the apple?
Did I miss something?
Out of sheer curiosity I asked why, in my opinion, such an odd assortment. 

Her response: 
"I like dinosaurs and so does Libby (her sister)
I just rode on my first train. 
I already bought a toy and only got $1 back but I want to give something to grandfather. (Who just had surgery) I wanted to buy him a teddy bear but I don't have enough money left." 

She paused and I proposed, "and you picked the apple because Grandfather is a teacher?"
"No"... she responded...
"They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away....that's what he really needs"

Those moments... are always there, and free... if you ask... and listen :)

and to think I was worried about frosting colors and making them look "pretty". I'm pretty sure Grandfather (who's colorblind) couldn't see much through the big elephant tears anyway! ha

She's 7.

elongating the essentials

The other day I was pleasantly surprised to have a visit from one of my cousins. We were reminiscing about her kids and when I had visited their family as a kid myself and was introduced to the idea of watered down juice. 
At 11 or so I was at that prime age of wanting to take care of little kids, so while I was at her house I was eager to help her feed them, and play with them, etc. When she showed me how she gave them watered down juice on day... I was a bit puzzled. She explained that, not only did it help decrease the amount of sugar they were getting, it also made the juice last a lot longer, and juice isn't cheap when you're pouring out 4 glasses at a time. They call that stretching a dollar... I call it elongating the essentials... and Genius.

Like most lightbulb moments - it all came together standing in my bathroom the next morning.

  I've mentioned that of all my face lotions, I'm particularly keen on my Aveeno which is tinted, provides SPF protection and promises to keep me looking younger. I mainly like the fact that the tinted component helps me prolong the life of my makeup... since the days I wear the tinted kind it's really not necessary. Well... as you know the stuff won't last forever, or in my case 6 months. Sooo... the other day I tried mixing another (non tinted) face lotion with the tinted kind... and it worked... ok. I'm not going to lie and say it worked great, but it will definitely help keep the stuff alive a smidge longer. It's kind of like mixing the conditioners! 

Watering down your juices, mixing up your lotions and your lampshades, digging in the yard for buried furniture... I think the Holiday funk is over!

two olds make a light

Happy New Year! 

This morning on the Today show they were talking about trends for 2012. I'm not big on "trends". Typically I'm a committer.

(I committed, long ago to overalls. I think they're functional, cute and I have them in varying lengths and colors... and I wear them. Every once in a while I'll get someone joking with me that "overalls are back" alongside a picture of some model at Fashion Week wearing a pair. 
Doesn't faze me. I'm loyal to my khaki, white, and jean.... short and long sets of overalls no matter what the magazines say. It only validates my longstanding relationship with overalls :) and gives me a good chance to wear them proudly in front of all those naysayers)

Back to the point - one of the "trends" which I hope won't be a trend, but a way of life... is to "unplug". Meaning, every once in a while, turn off all the electronics and just exist, in this moment. Without feeling badly that your second grade nemesis just bought a house and you're still renting, or that your coworker just signed up for their 20th Marathon and you're still working on getting up the courage to run the local 5k - Who cares? 
I think there is a healthy amount of competition that keeps people striving to do better, but then there's the unhealthy obsession that keeping tabs on your 2000+ facebook friends and trying to keep up with Joneses is somehow going to actually work. The best way to keep up with the to be the Smith's, the Vannatta's, the Buffett's. Make the world MORE interesting by being yourselves.
Do you think Warren was inspired to be awesome because his friends on facebook were showing him up? I think not. Enough of my rant... but I "unplugged" for the holidays - in case you thought I fell off the bandwagon! ha

The holidays were an interesting one for me - with this whole nothingnewforayear thing. I was very much aware that the rest of the world was getting a lot of new things that I wasn't... I was also uber aware of the fact that the gifts I would be giving people were not on any of the most sought after gift lists...
 Luckily I had a lot of things, people wanted. Despite being slightly used, people were surprisingly happy with their gifts. An ode to the fact that, newer isn't necessarily better. My mother got me a new vacuum for Christmas, and so I gave away both my regular vacuum and my Shark to some good friends, and everyone won!

 After the new year, I took a look around and decided I needed a little sprucing up at the house. Just because you aren't buying anything new doesn't mean you should look dull or your house! My mom used to always say that just because you're poor doesn't meant you have to be dirty... it doesn't cost much to be clean. She also said when you're fasting - you shouldn't LOOK like you're fasting. (Matthew 6:16)

She was right. There was something I could do to liven the place up! And so... I was on the hunt. 

I'd been scouring websites of other peoples living rooms to get ideas, but wasn't coming up with much. Swooped in to a Goodwill I'd never visited and there it was... an awkwardly bulging, turquoise lamp without a shade. For some reason I felt for it. For a couple of bucks I brought her home and tried her out.  She's a rather large, loud lamp and so I thought it probably best not to tame her with a cream colored lampshade I already had. Nope. She wasn't a trend setter, she had waited patiently on that Goodwill shelf  to find her home and her perfect match.... A bright red shade from a forgotten lamp...

Isn't she a beaut?? 
And the table she's on... found her in the backyard buried under some overgrowth. 
Merry Christmas to me :)

Ironically enough, I looked up that bible verse she always quoted and not far from that verse, was this one... 

Matthew 5:13 

Appropriate I'd say - and... I'm plugged back in.