July 29, 2011

I Love Outdoor Showers. Do You?

Have you ever taken a shower outdoors? Like a real shower with shampoo and great smelling soap, not just a rinse?

Well, I have and I love it!My first outdoor shower experience was at a summer rental down the shore, yes in Jersey but not that Jersey Shore . . . the nicer part of the Jersey Shore.

I never forgot it. It was a simply constructed contraption but the water was hot and the sky above was blue.

It was similar to this photo but not really. It was kind of rickety. But I so loved it.I think there is something kind of sexy about an outdoor shower.I wish I had an outdoor shower outside my home. I would literally shower in it in every season.

Really. I would.

What about you? Do you use outdoor showers?
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July 27, 2011

First Tomatoes of the Season

No more tasteless grocery store tomatoes.

Doesn't feel like summer until my dad's tomatoes start turning red.From this ...To this . . .

"One of the most delightful things about a garden
is the anticipation it provides."
- W.E. Johns

July 25, 2011

How to Make Blue Ball Jars Plus a Floral Arrangement

Spaghetti sauce. Capers. Artichokes. Clam juice.

Jars Jars Jars!

I have been collecting jars these last few months after being inspired by this Martha Stewart photo.So, I set out to turn plain jars into blue "Ball" jars.

After soaking the labels overnight in the sink, I gathered my other supplies of Elmer's glue, food coloring and a sponge brush.Using about 1 tablespoon of glue, one teaspoon of water, I then played around with the colors. I came up with three shades. From left to right: one drop of blue, three drops of blue and one drop of green and four drops of blue and one drop of green.Paint the outside of the jars. I found that I did need to add a bit more glue to make the color stick better. You don't have to be precise in painting the jars because this project is very forgiving. What worked best for me was to let the jar dry for a few minutes and then to go back and do another coat. Once dry, the jars are nice and smooth.My favorite shade turned out to be 4 drops of blue and one drop of green and my favorite jar was clearly the Barilla pasta sauce jar. After removing the label, there was all of this engraved wording that made it look like a Ball jar.Here they are.And, the final floral arrangement.I will continue to use this arrangement for the rest of the summer changing out the flowers and using some foliage from my garden.

What creative ways do you use to arrange your flowers.

July 22, 2011

Anderson Cooper's Ridiculist - The Funniest 5 Minutes on TV

There are very few things on television that make me laugh out loud.

Except for Anderson Cooper's Ridiculist which he ends each of his shows with.I literally cackle and snort he is so funny!

I am unable to embed the videos into my blog post but here are two links to two of my favorite Ridiculists.

http://youtu.be/9ejcjox1Onk

http://youtu.be/ze0OuDq9keM

So, set your dvr to about 10:50pm EST and laugh away.

Enjoy!

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July 20, 2011

The Real Housewives of New York Can Have East Hampton. I'll Take Dolphin Lane Beach in East Quogue!

On Monday, I ventured East to visit my friend Wendy who lives in The Hamptons. I felt as if I were on vacation! It really is a beautiful part of Long Island, NY.

We spent the day at Dolphin Lane Beach in East Quogue (pronounced Kwog).You see that tiny umbrella in the distance? That was the only other person on this vast, gorgeous beach! I was a bit shocked as to why no one was on this gorgeous stretch of sand.

But since my local beach actually has lots of people, I so enjoyed the peace and tranquility.

This beach is bordered by gorgeous beach homes so maybe that is why not many people visit.It was just us and the seagulls.The waves were massive but alas, not a good day for seashell hunting. Just this green plant growing out of the sand.For those of you who watch The Real Housewives of New York, you may remember that earlier in the season, they went to Quogue for a children's party where LuAnn, Kelly and Ramona were bitter bitches about having to travel to Quogue and dissing Quogue as some low class part of The Hamptons.

Are these bee-atches nuts? Quogue is absolutely beautiful, with lush green lawns and amazing coastal beaches such as the one I spent the day on - Dolphin Lane.

To those "real housewives," f you. Stay in East Hampton because I will be in Quogue.

July 18, 2011

Handmade Engagement Gift for Wendy and Greg

My sweet friend Wendy recently got engaged to her long-time beau, Greg.

I wanted to give them a handmade engagement gift.

Similar to my butterfly Christmas gifts for my nieces which you can read about here, I came up with a heart one for these two lovebirds.

Using an IKEA Ribba frame (don't you just love those frames!), I used the following supplies:The hearts were made from scrapbook paper as well as paint chips. You can see in the bottom right-hand corner, I took their initials and placed them on two hearts.
What do you think? Do you make handmade gifts?

July 14, 2011

Rest In Peace Leiby Kletzky

I went to bed last night hearing about a missing 8 year-old boy from Borough Park in Brooklyn, NY. His name is Leiby Kletzky.

He was walking home from summer camp for the first time alone, after asking his parents if he could walk by himself. His mother was to meet him half way. He never arrived.

Instead, he got lost and asked a man for directions. The man dismembered his body and stuffed him in a freezer and a suitcase that he then dumped in a dumpster.

I am sick about this. I cannot begin to tell you. I have cried over this.

An innocent child walking through a safe Orthodox Jewish neighborhood where everyone knows everyone.

What is the world coming to? May he rest in peace.

You can read the story here.

July 12, 2011

The Chronic Helping Tic 30-Day Challenge

Have you ever had one of those days (weeks, years) where things are not going well and then you read something that seems as if it was meant for you at that exact moment?

Well, I had one of those moments this past weekend. A bit of background - my brother passed away over a year ago and for the first time in 19 years, my dad and I were not invited to my niece's birthday party. (Did I mention they live on the same block, just .2 miles away?) I am sure my brother is turning over in his grave. Things change when someone dies and I am just tired of it all.Then I opened up the July issue of O Magazine and read two articles that were written just for me. The first was by Martha Beck. She wrote about "loving without caring" and how "sanity begins the moment you admit you're powerless over other people."

I am a very caring person; too caring and it has to stop. If you open up my veins, caring and thoughtfulness would ooze out.

I am that person who if I hear you mention a food or product or whatever that you may like, I will be somewhere and spot it and then give it to you. If I read an article I think you might find interesting, I will clip it out and give it to you.

But it is time to focus on ME which brings me to the second article, "The Helping Tic" written by Diana Spechler. "One woman goes on a 30-day mission to cure an awkward affliction: the unbridled impulse to offer unsolicited aid."

Ms. Spechler talks about "CHT - the chronic helping tic." This tic fits me to a tee!

I dole out unsolicited advice. I help my sister-in-law since she is clueless (she really is). If you are looking for a job, heck, I'll network for you.

But I can no longer do this because it is not appreciated and I just get hurt in the end (and not invited to a birthday party).In order to cure this tic, I need to "not help less but become more mindfully helpful" and when I get the urge to help, I need to ask myself the following question, "If I never receive credit or thanks for this favor, do I still want to grant it?"

So for 30 days, I am going to not help at all.

Now, if I see an old lady fall in the middle of the street, I will of course assist her. But if you are having problems with your man, I will tell you how great you are and that you will be okay. I will not however, set you up on a date.

I will share with you how well I do for the next 30 days, because I know I am going to do well.

Are you ready to take the challenge with me?images

July 11, 2011

Scarf Organization from IKEA

I absolutely love scarves! I usually have one stuffed in my purse at all times.

So, I was thrilled when several months ago, while watching The Nate Berkus Show, the following product from IKEA was featured.It was used as a scarf organizer.As someone who has a lot of scarves, I thought this would be perfect to hang my collection. After a few trips to my local IKEA waiting for it to be in stock, I finally purchased it. I believe it was an incredible bargain at $7.99.

Here is the result (sorry for the sub par photos.)These are my spring, summer scarves. Fall and winter are stored in a canvas container.Made of a rope-like macrame, it is surprisingly quite sturdy considering the number of scarves I have hanging from it.

I have it hanging from another hanger since it became quite heavy.

Are you a scarf lover and if so, how do you store your scarves?

July 7, 2011

May You Always Have a Shell in Your Pocket

I, like many, collect seashells. And I do have lots. Most are from my local beach which doesn't have lots of diverse or big shells. But, I always find something spectacular that the sea leaves behind.

They are everywhere in my home. Jars, bowls, dishes . . .

Here are some from my collection.Does anyone know what these tiny shells are?What about you? Do you collect seashells and what creative ways do you use to store them?

"In every curving beach,
in every grain of sand,
there is the story of the earth."
- Rachel Carson

July 5, 2011

Flip Flop Organization

I love flip flops. Slipping on a pair for the first time signals the start of summer.

This is what my entryway looks like.After reading, I believe Better Homes and Gardens, I saw the most simplest idea for organizing flip flops that I am almost embarrassed to say that I had to read about it.I took a basket I had on hand purchased last year at The Christmas Tree Shops for less than 3 dollars and voila. Organization.

Why didn't I think of this?

Duh!

July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday America

Wishing all of you a fantastic July 4th Weekend!
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