Simple Pleasures

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I love these vintage postcards.  I have a collection of them, thanks to my one of my girlfriends, Maureen Connolly, who so appreciates the finer things in life.

And you thought she was thinking about something else?

Happy Saturday.  Don’t clean all day.  Do something else. 🙂

Russian Tea for a Rainy Day

It’s another rainy day here in Cary, NC.   Time for some Russian tea.  I make it every fall and winter for days just like today.   It’s an instant mood booster.  Even the house feels better as the aroma of cinnamon and cloves permeate the rooms.

I didn’t know about Russian tea until my dear friend and old neighbor, Kristin,  brought me a cup when I lived in New Jersey.   It was the best tea I’d ever had.  I’ve been sharing the recipe ever since.

Here’s the recipe I jotted down years ago as I sipped it with Kristin.

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The Steps

  • Pour 12 cups of water into a large pot over medium high heat.
  • Add one cup of sugar, two cinnamon STICKS  (haha…I wrote cloves on the recipe), 8 cloves.
  • Depending upon the kind of tea you use will determine the number of tea bags.  For stronger tea, like Tazo‘s “Awake”, I only use 4 tea bags.  You can use plain ole generic tea, too.  Just toss in 6 tea bags.
  • Squeeze two lemons or pour equivalent of two lemons into the pot.
  • Add about two cups of Orange Juice.  You can also use half a container of frozen OJ.
  • Stir everything together.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Skim off foam.
  • Reduce temperature to low and let simmer as long as you like.

RussianTea.JPGAdd more water throughout the day if you leave the tea bags in for a while.  I usually take them out right before I pour any remaining tea into a pitcher for refrigeration.

I’m not sure how great it is at helping a cold, but it has a bunch of vitamin C in it and I swear it makes me feel better. It’s a great drink to serve for book clubs and other small gatherings.  My children really enjoy it, too!

Serve it up with some shortbread.

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I’ll post this super easy recipe later!

Message in a Cough Drop

When I’m in need of a cough drop, typically I unwrap it and toss it in my mouth. I never think to read the wrapper. Until last night. Something blue caught my eye.

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I thought that was rather clever. Kind of a subliminal, positive message.

Then I unwrapped it and saw it was much more than one quote.

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I wonder how many people notice these messages during this flu season. More than that, I wonder if Halls thinks their messages help people feel better.

What would Donald Draper think?

I like these kinds of surprises.

Thanks Halls, I noticed. I think I will seize my day and “fire up those engines!”


The Chair in the Woods

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It’s been there for a few years now.  I pass it everyday when I take my children to school and wonder who put it there.   Does someone go there and read?   Is it a teenage hangout?

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Upon closer inspection, I’d say no.

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What’s the story behind this chair? Why the woods?  I’m certain my questions will go unanswered.  That’s all right.  I kind of like to think about the possibilities.

I wonder how long it will remain here in Cary Park, land of manicured lawns and stable families.

I hope it stays.  It makes me smile.

Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer Works for Me!

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I’ve found my drugstore lotion.  I’ve loved Aveeno and many others, but I’m committing myself to only one brand now:  Jergens Ultra Healing.  My skin never fares well in winter.  Until now.  The big test?  My arms.  Come winter, they practically feel like sandpaper.  Even in mild North Carolina.  I ran out and bought a bottle after reading  Real Simple magazine’s January 2013 issue.

I’ve been testing it out for two weeks and my arms are the softest they’ve ever been.  I’m talking EVER.  It’s a keeper. I tend to apply this general principle in life:  “If it works, don’t fix it.”

Real Simple always tests several brands, but Jergens won “longest lasting”.   Just $7 at the drugstore for the 26.5 oz. bottle.  25% more lotion than the normal 21 oz. bottle for Jergens Daily Moisture.

Here’s a look at Real Simple’s contenders.  You may want to check these out, too. 5094

Notice this Jergens pictured is different than the bottle I bought.  I went for the whole Ultra Healing with extra dry skin moisturizer.  It has Vitamins C, E and B5.  I have no idea what B5 does, but anytime I see a bunch of vitamins listed, it makes me think I’m doing something good for this aging body.

Another change and not an easy one for me since I prefer hot showers:  taking a quick (3-5 minutes), lukewarm shower.  It’s not as difficult as I thought.  I start out with hotter water, but I adjust the nozzle after a minute.  Using hot water dries out your skin.

Look for “DID it WORK”  posts each Tuesday and Thursday on my blog.  I’m enjoying this.  Hope you are, too!


Just In Case You Ever Doubted…

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Color Consulting through Skype

My mother is restoring her 1860 home in Augusta, Maine.  She’s struggling over the bathroom.  “The tiles are all wrong.  I hate my bathroom, ” she says.  The thing is, there’s dust all over them,  the walls aren’t painted yet, and only the shower is installed.   In other words, “Hold on Sally!”  Wait!    I got that wrong, didn’t I?  I mess up like that.  You should know.  It’s going to happen again.  How about “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater?”  Another Gramma quote.  She had plenty of good ones.

Anyway, I manage to calm my mother down through Skype.  Yay for Skype! I  show her some color swatches from  Benjamin Moore fan decks, take a few pictures of  my powder room from my iPhone, since she asks, and it suddenly dawns on me that I can consult over Skype.  It really helped my Mom!

Here’s what the powder room  looked like right BEFORE we moved in.

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Not bad.  I like the wainscoating, but the room is dull. For the record, I did not pick this Builder Beige. Clearly, a builder chose it.

Here’s what the powder room looks like today:

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Small spaces like a powder room can manage darker, more saturated color.  The wall paint is “Mohegan Sage” from Benjamin Moore.  All the trim and wainscoating is “Linen White, also from Ben Moore.  It’s a little creamier and more sophisticated than the bright white those builders use.

 Here’s a look at the wall, molding and ceiling.

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Okay, a little hard to see the hand painted floral design on the shades, but this is the only light source in an otherwise dark room.  The Builder Beige is still on the ceiling.  I like the warmth of it up there. I also replaced the faucet (from Lowe’s).

IMG_5091 I found a flea market basket for that essential bathroom reading and spotted this  cozy, hand-knotted oval rug at a garage sale and grabbed it for $5.   Looks like I need more hand soap.  It’s that foamy Method soap from Target.  The kids actually use it. 

Powder RoomIt was fun to Skype and help my Mom.  Sometimes you just need another pair of eyes.   


"Color your world."

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