Monday, January 31, 2011

My cup over-floweth

Hello friends,
As you can see, I have a few tea cups. My love of tea began as a child drinking Constant Comet tea with my dear grandmother, Beulah, out in the greenhouse which was her garden business attached to the home we lived in on Elmwood, in Kansas City, Missouri. We would "help" her...she always had a job for us to do and she would treat us as adults when explaining what she expected to be accomplished. As a treat, we would have tea. I loved those times and that tea. I never developed a taste for coffee. That love of tea led to to a whole new adventure as a tea entrepeneur....way back beginning in May of 2001. Long story short....I had a tea shop in a mall and sold tea items and loose leaf teas (over 100 in my inventory). An amazing, wonderful, sometimes unbelievable journey that God took me on and led every step of the places I never dreamed I would go, that's for sure! Anyway, one of the things I sold in my shop was bone china tea cups from England. Well, I would buy them on ebay usually 4-6 sets at a time as shipping was a bit cheaper that way. They would arrive at my house and I would unpack and check them out....oh my! they were soooooo lovely, many of them I could not part with! finally, when I had about 250 sets in the house my husband said, "Cathy, is this a hobby or a business?" reality check!!! So, I began sorting through the cups and saucers trying to figure out which ones I could part with and which just could not go!
Last year I packed up almost all the tea cups for storage while we sold our house and traveled the world....NOT! So, this week I have been unpacking the tea cups and once again I felt the need to weed....This is the part of simplifing which you get better at with much practice...and believe me, I have been practicing!

I spread all the tea cups and saucers out on the dining room table. I played "duck-duck-goose" and pulled out about 30 sets to sell....oh, I am having a tea cup/tea pot sale the first week of March. You are invited. I will get out more details. Bring lots of $$$ I would love to buy a washer or dryer from the proceeds of selling my beloved china

I am not selling any of these....these I am keeping and you will have to wait til I die to get them

I am not perfect. I am trying and that is all I can say for now.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dinner Party

Big Night Table(above)
Happy Party-goers (below)
Joe and Karen
Woody and Bridget

Paul and Cathy


Hello everyone,
One of my three new years resolutions was to entertain more often. I thought a "Dinner and a Movie" night might be a fun couples event and ran the idea past my hubby. Paul is an avid movie watcher and he loves my it was a big green light from him. I invited 3 couples (one could not make it :-( but will be available next month). So six of us had a really tasty Italian dinner and watched the movie Big Night. If you haven't seen this movie, you should, it is a good foodie movie!

Italian Beer
Champagne cocktails (all the rage in the 50s)
Antipasto tray
Caprese salad
Tossed green salad with home made vinegarette dressing
rosemary foccia bread with olive oil dipping sauce
Lasagna bolognase
hearty red wine

Chocolate tart with caramel glaze and toasted almonds

What a great time we had and I think everyone enjoyed the movie too.
I am already planning next month's festivities!
This is fun!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

So What's Clutter?

Clutter: Stuff you do not all. Stuff you shove back on the shelf or in the drawer. Stuff that doesen't, your lifestyle or your decor. Stuff someone has given you that you feel obligated to keep. Stuff that reminds you of a person, trip, evening, event or activity that you enjoyed. Stuff that you might need.....someday.

There's "good stuff", then there's the rest. You need to get rid of the rest!
Why do you need to de-clutter?
1) So you can lighten your load
2) Easier to clean
3) See what you do have and enjoy the view!
4) So your children won't have to deal with it
5) So someone else can enjoy (your stuff is someone else's treasure)
6) To evaluate what is necessary
I am sure there are many more good reasons to de-clutter. You will probably have to de-clutter more than once since this activity is actually a character-building exercise which requires practice and fortitude (endurance). You must have a sense of humor too!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

99 bottles of beer on the wall....

Hello Friends,
Bet that header got your attention. Well, seems as my blog for now, has taken on a bit of the simplification-esque flavor, so I will endeavor to share a bit more of my journey towards the simple life.... You are certainly welcome to gleen any widsom or advice or "tricks of the trade" from anything I post.
Backround timeline....simplified
birth-56.....shopper...motto: more is good
56-56 1/2.....slow realization that my "stuff" was dragging me down, but no earthly idea how to change.
56 1/2.....FIRE (God knew how to turn my life around big time!)
56 1/2 to now.....slowing down gradually on the shopping (I still enjoy looking, but changing from the compulsion to get something....anything....just put it in a bag and I will be happy/ to "I do not need another table runner!" (this is big for me folks) motto: less is best
So, now you have a little, short, rather breezy account of my life so far. I am really not this shallow, but we are focusing on the simple life here, don't want to "clutter" the issue with extra unnecessary details. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section, I will try to answer.
So, we have already spent some time talking about pre-purchase initiatives, let's talk about sizing up your situation where YOU live. Obviously, we all can't be lucky enought to have a what do you do when you realize your life/home/car are all out of control and full of stuff, most of which you wanted, but now don't even know why, much less what you actually have! Well all the organization peeps say: Begin small, say a drawer, or a table-top or a shelf. Empty it completely. Have 3 boxes handy (some say four) one:keep, two:give away, three:throw away. Number four could be : think about. But do not think too hard. Another approach is to put items away for a certain amount of time...say 3 months or so. If you do not need them or miss them, then perhaps they can be sent to box 2 or 3. I had purged my home of so very much, no kidding, flat bed truck-fulls, 4 garage sales and a huge amount sent to Guardian Angel thrift....and still, when we were getting the house ready for sale we put that infamous 157 boxes into storage. Granted, we are big-time Christmas decorating folks and 49 of those boxes held Snow Village, and lots of Wonderful-I-will-never-get-rid-of-decor..... but, that still left over 100 boxes got it, stuff. So, now, I am again going through each box deciding once again, keep, store, toss. Actually, I am enjoying the process this time...makes about the third time I have done this huge project, so I am getting real good at it. It is like anything you want to learn to do, you begin and are slow and rather tedious, but somewhere along the way you begin to master the technique and before you know it, you are in the groove.
So, take heart, begin the Julie Andrews says: "Let's start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start!" One drawer, one table top, one shelf....whatever....just begin

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Social Network

Paul is checking email while we camp!

Hello everyone,

Paul and I just finished watching Social Network via a Red Box you ever say: "Wish I had thought of that"? I can name a few things that make me want to say that myself. Such as: Red Box movie rentals, NetFlix, those great candles that run by battery, with timers no less! Crockpots, and, if you give me a bit more time, I bet I can list a few more. But you get the idea. Lately I am feeling the speed of technology...literally. Are you keeping up? I am having a hard time, I mean, I do have to sleep and then there's my life, I should live it, right? When do you find time to hunt up and learn all there is that's new out "there"? I confess that we watch no television, so I miss out on alot of the hype. We don't take the paper, so there's another source that goes untapped in our home. Well, I love facebook and I am glad that whoever invented it did. I also think that Red Box and NetFlix are brilliant (we do watch a ton of movies). I love my computer and honestly don't know what I would do without it. I thought the movie was very good, by the way.

I do not have a smart phone, but, my netbook is wonderful and very handy. I don't text, ever. I think most of the time it is kinda rude at best and dangerous sometimes.

I think that the next best electric-driven item I have and dearly love is my KitchenAid Stand mixer! Bright red, 22 years old and going strong. I have whipped up alot of stuff with this sweetie and can tell you she was worth every cent!

How did I get off on this tangent? Oh yeah, Social Network. Isn't a blog part of the social network? Hey, I am hip!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

To be or not to be....that is the question!

Hello Friends,
Above is a picture of amazing hot chocolate from Chocolate by the Bald Guy in New York City. The drink was divine. We had a wonderful time taking one of our granddaughters to the city for her first trip! Many good memories. So, why am I telling you this? Well, it has to do with living a simple life. I should have been happy with the hot cocoa, the picture and the memory. But no....I had to go and buy my own little oval cup and saucer to take home. At a hefty "tourist" price to boot. Now, I have a not-so-functional piece of flotsam that I have to deal with!!! To keep or not to keep??? See where I am heading? The very best place to start on your journey to simplification is PRE-PURCHASE! This will save you tons of money and time if you just say to it beautiful, functional, or disposable (I am thinking that purchase of H&H bagels...very disposable mmmmmm!) Do I have a place for this??? or a purpose for this?? If you stop to consider a purchase, you will not have to make the hard decision to get rid of it in the future and once again, you will save money!!! This goes for everything you buy and bring into your home....everything. May I confess I am the proud owner of over 80 lovely teapots? I also have managed to acquire a collection of close to 200 bone china teacups and saucers. Excessive? A bit. Do I need to STOP THE INSANITY? Perhaps.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Simple life

Hello everyone,
I used to live a very cluttered life. My hobby was shopping and I was probably one of the best shoppers you would ever have met! Maybe even Olympic-class shopper. Not quite as good as my dear friend Barbara D., but we did some damage, that is for sure! I believed every space should have something "in" or "on" it. Now, think about that statement for a moment.....mind-boggeling isn't it??? Every wall, counter, table top and nook and cranny had something adorning it and I was always on the look-out for more! Is anyone thinking obcession??? Harmless you say??? Well, I thought so, but the truth was, these things were making me crazy (not insane, just frazzeled, turbulent in my spirit, the opposite of calm). Then we had a house fire! All of a sudden I experienced what William Wallace meant when he shouted FREEDOM!!!! (Mel Gibson in Braveheart). We moved into a two bedroom apartment with absolutely nothing but the clothes we had on and I had my purse....full of $$$ from the insurance company to buy any necessities we would need while our house was being restored! I bought two dishes, two knives, forks, spoons, mugs get the idea. It was liberating. I know I have written about this before, but just this weekend we have been putting away our Christmas stuff and contemplating bringing back some of the pocessions we stored while we had the house on the market....once again moving back into this house. I want a leaner approach to the look of our home. Not austere, but certainly more open and less cluttered. We have walls with absolutely nothing but paint on them! I want order and simplicity and beauty and peace and comfy and charm. I want clean and hospitable and I want to entertain angels.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

PB...hold the jelly

That clever title is PANERA BREAD....hold the jelly can I get a groan? Well, I am trying....
Panera makes you happy as you spend $10 for lunch, easily! Panera makes you happy as you refill your drink 10 times while you watch all back episodes of Serrenity on Netflix while using their free wi-fi. Panera makes you happy to pick two and get added carb dessert for only .99! Panera Bread is the Cheers of the 21st century....If any of you remember my little tea room in Durham, well, Panera Bread stole my whole model for a wonderful place to eat,drink,socialize, and just hang out. The only difference is that my place created a bit of community and at Panera, they give you the freedom to bring your community in with you and stay as long as you like...or until closing! Plus, everything tastes real good there. I get nothing for this review and have no interest in promoting Panera other than I think they are brilliant and admire them from the bottom of my heart. Also, must mention that both Target and Panera come straight from the American Heart....they know US (as in us ---you and me---) they like us, they understand us and they cater to US, hooray and only in America (a flag wave here). Altho, the rest of the world is welcome to enjoy these great businesses too! (Oh, I love IKEA, don't me wrong, they are top notch too, but not my most admired since I never even thought about selling homegoods....(did I say "homegoods???love that store too)
better close while I am coherent
love your feedback friends!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Why I love/admire Target

Hello everyone!.
For the whole first decade of 2000 I have been an entrepeneur. That is someone who is in business for other are the boss, numero uno, the man (who usually never gets a paycheck!). From the very beginning of my journey I realized that marketing and originality would be key in development of my business. There were two business out "there" that caught my attention and since I was in the food-trade, even tho tea is a drink, there are many foods that can be included if desired....and I was in the retail business as I sold all things tea-related. That being said, I honed in on Panera Bread and Target! Both had business models I studied and admired. Both extremely successful and growing, both tapping into the American psyche in a positive and influential way! I mean, Panera survived the big CARB SCARE....survived and became even more popular .....Target overcame the BELL-RINGING SANTA DEBACLE...with not even a shout! So, first, Target....why is this company so extremely good at reading the American public??? /Well, they create an environment that appeals to a whole. But, in this environment, THEY are in charge (so subtle, but so true...we don't even know it! it's brilliant) and even if we do know it (since I am letting you all in on this secret, which won't be a secret anymore!) Most of the time, they stock the shelves with four of the same item....that's, lady, you better buy this cute thing-a-ma-jig now, it won't be here for long!
NO MUSIC (I love this!)
Lots of light, wide isles, very very clean.
NO WAITING (I mean, very little to no waiting again, brilliant
Great clothes and shoes. Hey, we want some trendy stuff and who cares if it only lasts a season, we didn't pay an arm and a leg for it anyway and it is CUTE
On the other hand, most stuff is very well made and does last! thankyouverymuch....the cool Ugg-like boots I have worn for two winters and lovelovelove, for example
All this to say: TARGET rocks on all levels and I give them huge kudos and want to be them when I grow up!
As a person who studies retail, I see no faults with anything Target does and commend them in every way....Wallmart is not close to their league.
What do you think?
Next post: Panera Bread-love

Monday, January 3, 2011

What happened to Day 2???

Me and my grandson Woody, Dec. 2010
I am already behind and it is only January 3! woe is me, this does not bode well for the rest of the year.

Did you set a goal, a resolution, a wish or intention for the New Year? We all have moments where we see improvement needed and determine to alter some habit, trait, performance in our lives. Once, I decided to rid myself of "toxic" friendships (and I use friendship here very loosely, perhaps acquaintance would be a better choice of words). Not an easy task, but I will tell you, a good decision and on reflection, I am better off without those entanglements! Another year I decided to cultivate positive was such a wonderful success and has added many lovely memories and wonderful relationships for which I am blessed! I say all this to encourage you (and me) to continue the habit of evaluation and positive goal setting that a New Year provides.

Today is the first Monday of the New Year...the kids head back to school, folks are back to work, Christmas decor is over and done....until oh, say, August???? But for now, it is behind us and let's see....Valentine's Day is on the horizon...but before that we have Ground Hog Day and MLK. Lots to look forward to and of course there is Friday...which is only 4 days away. I wish you good goal setting, positive critical analysis, and happy results.




Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day One


This is the first day of a new....decade, year, month. The slate is clear and the road is ahead. Choose this day.....

Well, I wanted to start this new year off with a least a post....and perhaps be better at keeping whoever reads this a bit better entertained than last year.

This first day of 2011 is very balmy and overcast, quite a change from just last week when the lovely snow began to fall. We had our daughters over for dinner. All Chessons were on hand, Woody had to work, so Amy came on her own. I fixed a stuffed pork loin, hash brown potato casserole, red cabbage, green beans and a lovely tossed salad. It was a big hit and I had fun doing it. We all watched Nation Lampoon's Christmas Vacation....again....then they headed home. Zion had spent the night and was my New Years "Date". We went to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader 3D. Great movie...then to WalMart to visit Paul, he worked until midnight. While at WMT we bought sparklers and snaps for midnight and also a wonderful white artificial Christmas tree...6.5 feet, 400 lights....all for less than $9!!!

Wish I had taken some photos of events, but So, I will put in some photo to amuse you a bit.

1 day down....364 to go