Category Archives: Living the Dream

A cottage with its garden is where all my dreams come true.

Dillard’s Cloisonne Ornaments


Do you collect ornaments?   I have a friend who has at least 75 Christopher Radko glass ornaments and other who collects Margaret Furlong pieces but my ornament collection isn’t made by a well-known label though they are beautiful to me. 

Ten years ago I went to an after Christmas sale at Dillard’s department and discovered their cloisonne ornaments and I’ve been hooked ever since.  Our tree is covered with items that bring back family memories, like the zebra to mark my trip to Africa or the coffee cup (our family drinks a lot of coffee).  Our youngest granddaughter is nicknamed “the bee.”  Imagine how happy we were to find a bee ornament this year!  Each ornament comes in a red velvet box making each purchase a special keepsake.

Each year the Dillard’s cloisonne ornament offerings seems to get smaller.  I hope this is one collection that continues for years to come.

I’m Not Too Fond of Fall


As soon as the Labor Day holiday ended, it seemed blog posts were all highlighting fall decorations, recipes and buzzing about the amazing wonders of fall.  In all honesty, I’m just not so fond of fall or colder weather for that matter.   Fall means cold weather, everyone seems to hibernate more, winter comes and things outside turn brown.  These things just don’t appeal to me but I was reading an article and learned about “Hygge.”

I’d never heard the word so I read a bit more.

This Danish word (pronounced “hooga”) loosely translates as “coziness.”  It’s a warm, sociable feeling that comes to the fore in autumn and winter and that, for Danes, is one of the highest states to which humans can aspire.  Wool sweaters (preferably organic), hats with earflaps, blazing log fires, strong ales in old wood-paneled bars and candles galore, even at breakfast, all conjure “hygge.”

This has changed my attitude.  Now I’m going to be focused on creating hygge.   We could all use more coziness.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Daydreaming Gone Wrong

Window, DaydreamMy fourth grade teacher died a few weeks ago and when I found out about her passing last night, it reminded me of a time long ago when I got paddled for daydreaming.  Yes, paddled!

It was the one and only time I was ever paddled at school  and it happened to be in Mrs. Lacy’s fourth grade class.  The situation went like this.  After lunch our class was supposed to go down the 4th grade hall to the restrooms and from the restrooms students were expected to go straight to their desks and wait quietly for the next period to begin.

 My school was a beautiful old school built in the 1940s with huge windows. There was no air conditioning in the building so when spring rolled around we opened up those big windows.  We had pieces of 2x4s that we used to prop the big wooden framed windows open.  And so it was that after lunch I went back to the class room with those windows up, the sunlight beaming in and the smell of blooming things in the spring air. Instead of going to my desk I went to the window to take in the view of spring and to daydream a bit.

 Quietly Mrs. Lacy entered the room and she quietly picked up her “board of education.” It seems that I wasn’t alone.  She went down a row of kids who were all lined up, staring out the window – whack, whack, whack, whack went the paddle down the row. Not a single word was uttered but each of us, insulted and embarrassed, quietly walked to our desks.

 I often get spring fever, fired up about fall and all the other seasons but I will never forget that moment when I got caught daydreaming and enjoying spring.

Happy fall y’all!

Mexican Celebration

Tulum Ruins Mexico

I have so much fun at work and one of the things I enjoy the most is being able to be creative in the workplace.  Since the economic downturn “doing more with less” is a way of doing business but “making do” lends itself to creativity.


Recently we were having a Mexican celebration and it was so exciting to see how beautiful the paper decorations turned out. Everything was handmade.

Paper crafts

Paper crafts

Even more fun was being able to put together a power point where we could share travel photos from trips to Mexico.  Thought I would share a few of ours from the Tulum ruins.  Just imagine Mayan ruins right on the beach!  Though I have to admit there were some scary looking sunbathers!

Tulum, MexicoTulum, Mayan Ruins

Shopping for a Cause – GAIN

Georgia Asylum & Immigration Network


I’m on the board of an incredible organization and I’m very proud to have been one of the volunteers who helped form the organization.  GAIN, or the Georgia Asylum & Immigration Network is a group of volunteer lawyers who work to help immigrant victims of human trafficking and individuals fleeing persecution seeking asylum in the United States.  The stories of our clients are so compelling and hearing their stories always inspires me.  Almost daily GAIN clients remind me how lucky we are to be living in America.

This week GAIN hosted a book signing event featuring Anna Rodriguez, the woman  behind the creation of human trafficking laws in the U.S.  Her stories and her work are incredible.  Her new book is Ma’am Anna for those interested in learning more about human trafficking and Anna’s work.

Now, on to the shopping.  A few of GAIN’s clients offered to make a few items for a silent auction to help give back to the organization which has given so much to them.   This factor alone inspires me.

At the auction there were two queen-sized embroidered pieces with pillow cases hand-embroidered by an Indian client who had been in an abusive relationship.  Thanks to GAIN’s volunteers she has been able to establish a new life in a new country and is safe from her abuser.  Sadly she was physically damaged by the years of abuse making it painful for her to sew but she stitched these two pieces to help GAIN.  Given all the news about India and the treatment of women, having the opportunity to help a female victim of domestic violence in some small way was especially meaningful.

India Embroidery

Can you believe that I was the lucky bidder? I’m so proud to have won this treasure!!!  There is no match for the heartfelt handwork that was stitched into the fabric.


Handmade Embroidery

Today I’m linking up with The Tablescaper celebrating Seasonal Sunday.

Flower Beauty

While at the hairdresser’s this week I picked up the big fall issue of Style.  Drew Barrymore was on the front cover and she looked amazing.  She is one of those faces that seems to easily transform from innocence to elegance.

I love looking a the big fall issues of fashion publications.  My birthday is in the fall and one of the things I enjoy doing during my birthday month is to enjoy a “make over.”  Normally this consist of me doing a major purge of old skin care and make up products and replacing everything with fresh and new.  Sometimes I make an appointment with beauty consultants to get tips and updates which is really helpful as I get older.

Drew Barrymore InStyle Magazine+September+2013+1Flower got a lot of “coverage” in this month’s inStyle Magazine.  Apparently the makeup line is only sold at Wal-Mart (guess I’ll have to find a Wal-Mart) and it’s very affordable make up.  Since reading about Flower in inStyle, I’ve read a number of reviews giving the makeup a high five.   So, this year instead of going to a big department store, making my appointment with a beauty consultant and spending much more than I should on new products, I’ll be headed to Wal-Mart and picking up some Flower power!

Duluth Trading Company – Time to Shop

When school starts I automatically start looking at trends for the upcoming season giving thought to items I might add to my wardrobe. Usually my purchases are limited to “the basics” so I was thrilled at the recent Haven Conference to discover the Duluth Trading Company and especially one of their products – a very reasonably priced beautiful leather tote.

Duluth Trading Lifetime ToteFor the past 5 years I’ve been carrying around the same black leather tote. I love it and it still has plenty of life left (this is what happens when you buy quality items) but the bag is heavy and when I travel with my laptop and my purse, my back aches from all the weight. So, I decided I needed to shop for a new leather bag that would be just as functional but one that is not so heavy.

DuluthTrading CompanyBefore Haven I’d never heard of Duluth Trading Company but they were one of the first vendors I saw at the conference and they stopped me as I arrived to ask me what size t-shirt I wanted. Yes they gave all of the conference attendees a beautiful cotton t-shirt with a choice of two colors.


I love the t-shirt and in fact, I’m wearing it now. I’d been thinking about a new tote for a while and had done a little shopping but couldn’t find one that was in my price range and sized right. But then I spotted the Women’s Lifetime Leather Tote.

Duluth Trading CompanyMy new tote is here so I’m ready for fall!

Duluth Trading Company - Lifetime ToteNow I’ve got my eye on a pair of these…

Duluth Trading OverallsI’m linking up with The Tablescaper this week to see what others are doing for Seasonal Sunday.