Monday, August 29, 2011

I Spy Back to School For Grown-Ups

I ran across this cool Daily Candy list of products for "big kids" as the smaller ones get back in the academic groove.  Here are some standouts, at least from a visual perspective.
Um.  Duh.  :)  This is a magnifying glass, of all things!  Isn't it boss?  Well, I'm sad to say that the price (78 buckos) matches.  It is neat to look at, though.  And look through, I bet.

Aren't these reusable lunch bags graphically appealing?  They're normally sold in sets of 3 for $24, but you can get a deluxe set of 5 for $38, if you're so inclined.  I don't know how well these will work, as they are cotton, but they would certainly be a discussion piece at the break table.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gotta Make That Money, Man

By now you probably know that I'm rather frugal.  But that doesn't stop me from being interested in (reading about) the higher end places in this great nation. 

I ran across an article on Time that was pretty neat; it's called The 25 Most Expensive Shops in the US.  Plus, it had a cool graphic with one of my favorite color schemes:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

From Failure to Frosting

We had our August potluck today at work, and my contribution was these cupcakes with royal icing, Nigella-style.  They are one of the easiest recipes that I make on a semi-regular basis, and the icing could not be more simple or (honestly) more stunning.

If you have just a moment, take a peek at this video clip of Nigella.  My favorite, favorite thing is to hear her say in her British accent that the icing looks like white 'pay-tint' leather around 1:27-ish.  Then she says that they look ludicrously perfect, as though they had been bought at a toy shop.  I could watch her bake and cook all day, every day, I think.

Anywho, I hope you had a sweet Tuesday!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Failure to Prepare... preparation to fail.

I'm using this cool, Real Simple graphic of spoons in a drawer again because a) I love it and 2) I've been getting my collective "house" in order. 

 A couple of weekends ago, when I was back home visiting, I was awakened early Sunday morning by screams from my mom.  Needless to say, it was unsettling.  She had fallen in the dark, on her way to the bathroom, and long story short, my brother and I ended up in the ER with her. 

She is totally fine now, although at the time she was beside herself with pain and confusion.  And so were my brother and I.  We did not react very well to this mini-crisis at first, but we picked up the slack and got her the care she needed.

All of this got me to thinking about making arrangements for life's little uncertainties well in advance.  For example, I was faced with this question: Sir, what is your mother allergic to?  And I promptly drew a blank.  My brother knew less than I did.

Now, granted, Barb is completely back to her version of normal now.  And she's way (way) too young to be "falling," but these are the kinds of things one should prepare for before they are needed.  Suze always says that one needs a will and trust.  I'm now working on that, despite my lack of vast wealth or children.

The important thing is to make your wishes known to your immediate family, despite your current health, income, living situation, etc.  If (God forbid) your health were to take a turn for the worse, would you want life support?  Who gets your house?  Your money?  Your creepy doll collection?  Do you want to be buried?  Cremated?  Other?

I'm not trying to be all macabre here, but I've had a bit of a wakeup call, and I want to pass along this life lesson that I'm currently in the midst of learning.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Anywhere You Go, I'll Follow You, Down

I don't guess I've blogged much over the last couple of weeks.  Perhaps I'll say a little bit more about what's been going on in a later post, but I wanted to catch you up to speed on my latest purchase.

It's not these sweet sheets.  Oh no.  I still lust over them, even though they're mine, but it's these new pillows from Cuddledown.

Really, I can't say enough about them.  Or about down in general.  I have a down comforter that I got last year from Macy's.  It's currently encased in this.  And I like a down jacket for the winter.  And a down throw for the couch.  These pillows complete the set.  (Tip: Check out the final pages of apparently any issue of House Beautiful, as I did, to get a link to a sweet deal for these pillows.)

If you're allergic to down, you could go with a synthetic material to get a similar loft and cushy feel.  I bought a fairly lightweight comforter so that I can use it year-round.  In the summer, I use it with just a top sheet (and fan), and then I add blankets as the mercury drops.  My first down comforter was from Lands' End, and it lasted for years.  I still miss it sometimes.

When I read blurbs that say we spend a third of our lives in bed, it makes me realize the nice-ness of outfitting one's bed in a thoughtful way.  I like to take the time on Sundays to strip the bed, let the mattress breathe for most of the day (a Real Simple trick), and then start the upcoming week fresh, with clean bedding.  Right now my bed (pictured above) is subtly calling out to me, aided by the Aveda candle burning on the nightstand.

It's a great way to wrap up a weekend, whether it was go-go-go or slow-slow-slow.  Consistency is a quality sorely lacking in most places I look today, but this is one area that I know I can count on.