Thursday, June 30, 2011

What every Southern woman knows about gardening....

What every Southern woman knows about gardening, and what every woman ought to know....

 Every Southern woman likes to fancy herself a gardener. Whether she is just an expert on the subject and tends no garden at home (but to hear her talk, you would think differently), or if it is actually her husband that makes the gardens grow (but she takes all the credit when someone comes to visit), or if she is the president of the garden club and the envy of every member, the bottom line is that Southern women love to garden.

Now as we all know, Southern ladies have a certain way of doing just about everything. Gardening is no exception. Luckily, I have been given permission by the Southern Ladies Garden Society of KIA (know it all) to divulge some of the secrets.

First of all, as with absolutely everything in a southern woman's life, it all comes back to a wedding.
Think of the old tradition: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
The something old: Every garden must have a "start" from a plant that has been around for ages. It could be a plant that came from where you grew up or a seedling from a beautiful plantation. Just as long as you have something old that you can tell the history.
The something new: A garden is always in a state of change. A gardener is constantly adding new to the beauty and bounty of her land. Sometimes it is a new bush and sometimes it is an architectural element, but new change is always a constant.
The something borrowed: Now this is that part that most of you will not know about, as it is not openly talked about. However, it is an intricate part of the Southern garden. You must have at least one plant that you attained through "questionable measures". If you see a lady's back side stuck in the air, once the sun has completely set, at a home that is not her own, you can be sure that she is "acquiring by questionable measures" the gardenias that she has been eying. Or if you come home from vacation and your neighbor tells you she has been looking after your gardens for you while you were gone (even though you didn't ask her to), check your peonies, its a sure bet some is missing.
The something blue: Last but not least, the you must have some lavender for good health, lilacs for peace of mind, and hydrangeas for bouquets to take inside.

So there you have it, a Southern gardeners guide to a proper garden. Go forth and create a garden to rival any other. You are, after all, now equipped with with the insider information. Happy Gardening escapades!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Organization for the modern type AB

“Organization“, “How to get organized“, “How to organize your life and keep it that way“… These statements and other similar statements usually divide women into two different categories: those with hearts that start to flutter at the thought of a new organization technique they can implement as soon as possible and those with hearts that start to flutter at the mess lurking under the surface of their junk drawer that turned into a junk closet and is on the verge of becoming a junk room .

Well, I will tell you that I am one of the not so talked about, in between girls.

I adore the word organization and all that it implies. One day when I am wealthy beyond all imagination I even plan on having several full time professional organizers on staff. However, until that fateful day arrives, I am stuck organizing my life myself.

Which brings me to the other side of the love affair .

So, I adore organization and read every article on it that I can get my hands on with the best intentions, but yet, not many of the suggestions actually get put into action.

I have clean, well decorated counter tops but two junk drawers are tucked underneath them full of, you guessed it, junk.

I have a professionally installed closet with my shirts being color coordinated from white to black but my shoes are strewn about the floor.

I have car caddies for instant automobile organization, but they are lined up in the back of the truck in a neat row while the DVDs, crayons and travel games are on the floor board of the truck.

So, you can see that there is obvious desire to be one of those professional moms and wives that are so put together that they run their errands in an efficient manner, have their families meals and outfits planned for the week, and always get their Christmas cards out the day after Thanksgiving, but alas, I am not one and probably never will be.

But here is what I do have:

“Some organization, some of the time.”

For example,

One week my closet will be spotless while my truck needs a has mad level cleaning, the next week, the truck will be speck and span while the refrigerator sits empty, the next week we will have a fully stocked refrigerator and the pizza dude will be wondering what happened to his regulars while my closet is in shambles again. You get the idea.

So, maybe it is not always all done and perfect, but some times, some of it is! And, that is ok with me.

Even if it is only parts of my life that are organized and it only last for a week and it is three weeks before they get implemented again. At least I have a week of living that type A life style in that particular area!

And, oh let me tell you, I hold on to that week. When things get out of place again, I close my eyes and know that one day soon (because it will be put on my to-do list) it will be organized all over again, and for now that will just have to do.

So, don’t beat your self up if you don’t live the lifestyle all the magazines tell us about.

You are already succeeding by reading the organizational article. That was the first step! Because one day, you will get around to doing those cupboards and closets and you will remember some of those tips, and you will use them, and your cupboard will stay tidy for a week or so and when it gets messy again you can close your eyes, remember the vision of them when they were blissfully tidy and know that they will one day get that way again. Because you will put it on your to do list, and you will once again conquer the clutter!

So, with all that said, let me share with you some of my FAVORITE tips and you can put them to use as soon as you get home, or store them away in the back of your mind until the day comes.

Either way, here are some organizational suggestions from me a non-committal organization junkie:

Make a list

I make a list for absolutely everything. What to do around the house, grocery list, errands that need to be run, things that need to happen at work, etc… and once I put something on the list, it can NOT come off until it gets done. It might get done the day it goes on the list or it might get transferred over to the new list several times, but no matter what, it does not get forgotten and it eventually gets done.

Have a place for everything in your home

What I mean by this is, every item in your home should have, well, a home. Pens with other pens, coats in a coat closet, magazines in a basket, etc… Am I saying that those things should not come out of there spots? No, I am saying if you have a designated area for those things, when you get around to picking up, you will put them where they go and next time you need them, they will be there. Your family will be so impressed that you found something in the first place you looked! (this is exceptionally impressive when you are running out the door and you can still find something with in seconds)

Tidy up every evening or morning.

I have found for me, if I pick up every night before I go to bed (I am a night owl) the mornings run smoother and it is easier to maintain then waiting to do it once a week. To be clear I am not talking about cleaning here, I am talking about picking up and tidying things up.

I am not at all saying that there is not a time I go to bed with out a mess. You better believe it happens, but if I make an effort to do it every night, then chances are, it will at least happen three or four nights of the week. I consider that success.

Start in a corner

Ok, here is a little off the wall trick I use: I start in a corner of my kitchen. You may think this sounds silly, but I start in a specific corner of my kitchen every time I go to tidy up and I work my way out. It is so physiologically pleasing to see the progress you are making with a tidy corner that leads to tidy counter tops that lead to a completely tidy room! It makes me smile with pride and feel good about what I have accomplished in such little time. It is true that as soon as I turn around there is the family room to tackle, but I do it the same way, and soon it is done and then I have two rooms done, and so on… For some reason when I walk back into one of the rooms I am finished with, it just makes me feel such a sense of accomplishment that it motivates me to keep going. And again, just to keep it real, sometimes only the kitchen, family and bathrooms get done, but at least they are completely done and not just bits and pieces. And if company comes over, I can just keep them in the “holding area” that is neat and tidy.

So, I know that that might not seem like the longest list or the most complex set of organizational techniques. And any type A’s or professional organizers reading this might be sighing in disappointment, but they are reality -based, real person, techniques that might actually be used.

Which is, after all, the point.

Just keep telling yourself my mantra:

“Some organization, some of the time, is better than no organization, any of the time!”

Maybe I should get that tattooed on me somewhere! Just kidding type A’s!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

4th of July entertaining....

I was in the process of talking hubby into
having a 4th of July party,
just when my sister saved HIS day by throwing one on their farm.

However, I already had loads of inspiration
that I will use for next years party that I want to share with you.

Our invitations...

 The table...
 some grub...
 flour stars on the lawn....
 snap favors...
watermelon on a stick.... 
 the supplies...

and finally some favors for both the kids and the adults....

 Next year is going to be fun! 
And, I have a whole year to convince hubby
that it is a good idea!

Monday, June 27, 2011

bringing the indoors outside part 2...

I have gotten so much out door inspiration lately
that I thought I would share some with you.

This is actually a picture out of a pottery barn catalog.
I have started checking on Craig's list for a projector, once I have that
We can throw up a white sheet and call it a drive in!
{no necking of course!}
 and this room,
just stop it!
I love it so much I can't stand it!
However, it is completely unrealistic for my space
and so shall remain a dream.
 and how much fun would this be?
we have all seen the outdoor chess,
but outdoor scrabble...genius!
{I think it is funny that spell checker had to correct my spelling of  genious genius}
{{obviously, I am not a genius}}
{{{Oh for heaven's sake, now it corrected obviously!}}}
This rug made out of rocks is beyond words!
I think it would be so much fun to make, 
but keeping it that way would be a night mare.
So, that will have to be for someone with out as many kiddos and pets 
as this zoo has... 
 I am not crazy about the stripes in this one,
but I love how they made it look like a room with the vines
on the arbor and the candelabra.
This is so up my alley!
I need this as a gate at my house!
I even think hubby would go for this one, 
so maybe just maybe this is in my future! 

So, now that I have some out door inspiration
Here I go to spiffy up the joint.

Hubby just loves it when I get "inspiration" and "good ideas"
His favorite words of mine are,
"I just thought of a good idea!"
His usual response is,
"Oh no, how much is this going to cost me, and how many man hours are involved?"

Here's to inspiration and realistic hubbies!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

From Miss to Mrs. with our best wishes...

From Miss to Mrs, With our best wishes…
{an article I wrote for one of our local publications...}

 It is rapidly approaching the time when the scurrying of Misses who will soon become Mrs. will begin. This also means, that all of those soon-to-be Mrs. Closest friends and family members will be scurrying about planning all the parties to precede the impending nuptials.

So, here are a few ideas to make those pre-wedding parties both fun and fearless.

First things first, Decide on a theme and scheme. What does the bride like? Is she more of a blue ball jar filled with wild flowers on a table kind of gal, or is she more of a Tiffany&co. blue box kind of girl? The shower is for the bride, so it should reflect her style. The party will come and go for the host, but the bride will cherish the day for years to come.

Decide on a budget. Now this decision of the party is all about the host not the bride. However, you do not have to sacrifice big impacts because of a small budget.
Use what you already have, like your good china. Most of us never use it for fear it might get chipped, but if that happens, you can always save it for next time you and hubby-dearest have a tiff. He will know you are fed up when you throw it on the kitchen floor shattering into a million pieces, but you didn’t actually have to sacrifice a piece of the “good stuff”. I call that recycling the china.
Barrow what you don‘t have. There is always something you have that someone else wants to borrow. So if the friend that has all those handed-down silver trays has made several comments on your favorite necklace, take it to her as a bargaining tool when you ask to borrow all of her “good stuff“.
Decide on a menu. This decision should be made keeping the time of the shower and the location in mind. If it is a 10 o’clock in the morning event, you can serve fruits and juices with an omelet bar. If it is a co-ed shindig, consider serving bar-b-que, in mason jars with bandannas tied to them for the napkin to doll it up just a little. The menu is where a lot of the expense occurs as well. Go into it realizing that you do not have to feed your guests a meal, you just need to give them something to nibble and sip on. Think tiny-sized not super-sized.
At the end of the day, everyone is there to celebrate the finding of love between two people.
And if the bride leaves having laughed until it hurt, shedding a tear at the kind words spoken, and feeling all of the best wishes that were sent her way, then you know the shower did exactly what it was meant to.

Love, Liz

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Maria Menounos....

I am reading this little gals book,
and I wanted to share it with you...

Her name is Maria Menounos.
I first heard about her and her book
on the Nate Berkus show.

I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the book,
because...ok, lets face it,
I already think I know it all,
so why would I need a book about how to know it all?

You see how this would be a waste of money for me, right?

Well, in spite of myself, I bought it anyway.
{just because I like to read, mind you}

 I have actually learned some really clever things from it!
After you pick yourself up off the floor from shock
that I could have not known something,
remember that I DO now know it,
and that would mean I officially DO know it all now.

Let's just keep that straight.

Any who, I am recommending that you get yourself a copy,
or borrow one from a friend. 
It is a light, easy read,
and it is packed full of fun and helpful advise.

I will warn you, she is a bit of a name dropper,
but my friend Cher and I were talking the other day with
Elton and we all said, "Who doesn't drop a name here and there!"

So, as I was telling, Ringo, long as you can handle that,
you will enjoy the book.

Such a cute girl too.
She lost 40lbs. a while back.

She looks like the type that has always
been adorable, but it makes her more
personable and real to know that she wasn't always perfect.
She shares some of her "diet" food
that absolutely looks scrumptious!
and not "diety" at all....

Oh, and she is Greek,
so you know it is going to taste great.
So there is one of my Summer reads....
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

bringing the indoors outside....

I thought I would share with you all one of this month's TV segments.
It was all about bringing the indoors outside... 

and making your square footage larger
by creating rooms outside
 for your family and for entertaining.

My favorite times to entertain are the
months that allow us to have our guests outside,
So, an out door dining area is just as important as
an outdoor lounging area to us...
Hope you enjoy the video....

Monday, June 13, 2011

white floors....

My latest and greatest obsession...


I mean just look at how they make a room
look instantly cool, calm and clean.
{these images found here}

They go with any style decor,
and they make color just pop.
{view this image here}

{view this image here}

They are even able to bring this Versace style
down a notch or two, to make it
a livable interior.
{view this image here}

and of course, my favorite way to pair it,
with a shabby chic, cottage style.
{view this image here }

These floors take the cake though.
I love how they embraced the timeworn floor that
was there before.
{view this image here }
 {view this image here }
I have been mentioning the whole white floor thing to Hubby lately.
Our floors are in desperate need to refinishing,
but it would be SO much easier to paint them .

Needless to say,
he has not yet bought into the idea.

Working on that though....