Weekend Vacation!

So, this will be me this weekend. Without the umbrella.
And it will be when the sun's gone away.
During the day, we do Lulu's, and
Tangier Outlets in Foley, and
wandering around, and
talking, and

I'm not a sun lover on a hot sandy beach.
But love the smells, the foods, and the company.
See you next week! Have a blessed weekend ~

I Love Movies!

I love love love movies. Most any kind, except those in black and white or deep sci-fi movies. Oh, and I do NOT watch the Jason series nor the Nightmare on Elm Street series. (And Saw, and Texas Chainsaw . . . .)
I do love a good mystery thriller and I did see Carrie. Almost peed in my pants at THAT ending! However,
this post is to show why I don't venture in certain areas and why I live my life the way I do. Eccentric or not, here's why.
The reason I do not go into the ocean. I don't even venture out to where the surf is hitting the knees! There was one time, just ONE TIME, that I released the fear and let the surf carry me out. It took watching Jaws 2 the next week to remind me WHY I stay on the beach and sit with my toes in the water. Then I have to keep telling myself that no shark is going to launch itself on the beach to eat a non-seal looking object. (One other note about this movie: I had to walk out during the first fifteen minutes the day it hit the theatre. Had to wait for it to come on HBO years later before I had the nerve to finish it. Then I had to watch the other three sequels. But I still don't want to go in the ocean.)
Snakes. I hate snakes of any kind. But I really really hate those big ones. The kinds that make you want to puke in the Reptile House because it's always hot and the odor of the reptiles is one you don't want in your nostrils. (Side note: did you hear about the King Cobra that escaped the Bronx zoo!! And they haven't found him yet! They are thinking he is holed up in the Reptile House, which is another reason to bypass that particular part of any park! This movie made me dislike snakes even more. And also gave me a reason NOT to get out of the boat on the lake to pee in the water. There are idiots that have released reptiles into our local lakes. The dummies. Did you see the giant alligator movies? Yep, we got 'gators in Lake Jordan thanks to people buying the babies in Florida and wow, they outgrew the aquarium. Gah.
There are two of these movies. One that overturns with a giant tsunami type wave. The more recent one with a bomb blast set by staff members that don't like Americans. Same scenario. A lot of people die and you have to find your way out by going backwards, upside down, and swim through water. Nah, not me. Be my luck, our cruise would return with everyone sick, I'd get swept overboard accidentally, or some disgruntled staff member would set off a bomb. We'll just take one of those cute cruises that sails up the East Coast! They maintain shore views!
Ugh. I will never never ever never be caught alone in an underground parking area that is supposed to be guarded and protected with a large screen door that comes down and locks at a certain hour. Come to think of it, I don't park in underground parking lots anymore anyway.
I am very very nice to drivers around me.
Always have been, Always will be now. 
Time Travel. Love movies about Time Travel. But I would never wander into a black hole. Bahaha Do they exist? Are you sure?!?!? {Wink font} I'll never ride on a flight carrier but I love flying in  airplanes! Not one with snakes running loose, though. Did any of you see that one?!  UGH!
I love romance movies and I love sweet chick flicks. Love love love the Nicholas Sparks movies,  especially The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe. Oh, so sweet!
Well, I have three Netflix movies awaiting me at this time so I'm going to snuggle in, use my earbuds & be quiet for our neighbors, and watch movies! One of the movies tonight that is a documentary on Apollo 13. Truly liked the version with Tom Hanks, now I want to know the reality of what happened. Love Tom Hanks. Oh, and John Travolta! and Nicolas Cage. And The Right Stuff!! Can't tell you how many times I've watched The Right Stuff and that I've met two of the charactars protrayed in the movie!! But that's another post. Leave me a comment about the movies that made you scary enough to make you change your mind about a way of living. What movie made you close your eyes and look out through your fingers?!?!

It's Spring at The Park

I walked out on our Juliet balcony yesterday afternoon waiting for John to come in. This is what I see when I look to the left of our home. Look how lush! Look at the grass that is coming back in. Below, you see what welcomes our eyes if you come up the front entrance. (We park in a garage in the back, so we use that entrance, but we see these each time we come down our stairs.) They are not only gorgeous but they hide the four air conditioners there also! I don't know what they are called, but I love them.
Looking across the sidewalk, there are crepe myrtles beginning to leave out. Thank you, thank you, Pamela, for not butchering our crepes!! I hate hate hate it when people cut their crepe myrtles back and they develop ugly stubs. Horrors. There is a way to trim them, but do NOT cut them totally back each year. These at The Park have begun getting height to them and give such a nice shadiness to the verandas that are blessed to be near one, or two or three. We are on the second and third floors and the one below is just about to the second level. Crepe myrtles have long been a favorite blooming tree of mine. And these are beautiful.
This is looking to the right of the balcony and I am not sure what type of trees these are. I do know they are hardy, become very leafy and add softness to the brick buildings. Another thing I noticed as I was taking photos were the roses growing on the iron railing in front of some buildings. There are lots and lots of roses within the complex, but these are tiny roses that climb all over those buildings that have an iron railing in front. Another thoughtful touch that they didn't have to add. But they did.
Again, looking to the right. The building you see in the distance is across the lake we have. I love it when the lake fountain is on. Almost as much as I like the fountain you see when you enter the complex. On days when we're at the pool, you can feel the mist from the lake fountain on the breezes. The verandas you see are large. Even the smallest ones are large. The bottom ones have an outside entrance, too. Notice the number of roses that will soon be covering the corner!!
John loves to walk outside and look around proudly and claim, "Isn't our landscaping beautiful? And I don't have to do a thing to it. I like that." (I like it, too!) They are forever trimming, cutting, adding, watering, bringing in pine straw. And they do it 12 months a year, folks, not just the 'nice' months.
This is the view beside our garage. Makes me calm just looking at the photograph. And yes, that's a large rose bed on the left side. Then monkey grass around it, and Asiatic Jasmine on the outside. Last year it was an awesome sight  and I kept forgetting to take pictures! I won't this year.
One of our neighbors has this Japanese Maple planted in a planter outside his veranda. He has quite a few scattered around our parking lot area, too. Don't you just love it when someone does something nice without being asked, that's it's done just for the joy of making our World a prettier place.
Driving out, I began to really see how many are budding out and the leaves that seem to be popping out overnight! And the rose beds are everywhere! They will bloom throughout the hotter months!
This is my nod to Spring outside our door. To the right is the Juliet balcony. Reminds of a castle. I would show you the wreath on the door BUT there's a large white spot. Once upon a time, John was expecting something from FedEx and he didn't want them to miss us. So he wrote a note telling them to knock real loud and to call our cell. That we WERE home. Well, the sweet man couldn't find any scotch tape so he used Super Glue. Super Glue to attach a sticky note to our front door. Of course, it took the paint off! Sheez. And I'M the blonde one!
I hope you're enjoying Spring at your house!
Thank you, thank you, to those that own The Park and to those that maintain it. You're the best! We appreciate you very much for all that you do to make our living areas beautiful and soothing.

A Double Duty Coat Closet

Right inside our front door is a storage closet. It's deep and somewhat narrow, but I love all storage. Thankfully, each apartment and townhome I've seen at The Park, and I've seen all the models is rich with storage spaces. Truly, they didn't leave an inch unused. Amazing. Oh wait! I bet a woman designed them. {wink font}. When you open this door, you see John's work coats and jackets he is presently using. Once the weather gets warmer, they'll be washed real good and hung up in an upstairs closet. Love these over the door hangers!
This is where I got a bit lazy and instead of getting a second wire shelving unit as I have in the back I just opened two dinner tray holders and this is where he puts his 'stuff'. You know men have lots of 'stuff'. Woman do as well but we hide ours in items known as purses. You can see one of my purses down there. It's out of season, for me anyway, and I need to get it upstairs and put away. This area holds his work bag, his leather items when he rides his motorcycle and the shoes he has for various daily times.
You'll also see seasonal items for the front door hanging in here. I didn't want to use the garage that is down a flight of stairs and across a small parking lot, so I hung them in here. There are more wreaths hung in the Christmas closet upstairs. Remember, if you can't go out, go up in small spaces!

It works for me. And it will work for you. Be creative. Those spots are there, just waiting for you to utilize them and make them feel important. We also have a white door hanger on the Master door where John's Columbina shirts hang? Why? Because they're soft, they don't wrinkle, and can be grabbed quick when needed. Like needing to make a quick run to Publix or through a drive thru window.
It's Thursday and another sunny day in central Alabama y'all!

"Sorry, Charlie"

You remember him, right?
Please tell me you do.
Charlie Tuna? StarKist?
As in, "Sorry, Charlie"?
By the end of my teaching career, when I was asked a yes or no question by a child, I'd say "Sorry, Charlie" if the answer was 'no'. This drew a blank face on the child and usually a "That's not my name." I quit trying to explain by Christmas each year. I even ceased showing them on the computers what Charlie Tuna looked like, why he was popular, etc etc.  Now I have grandbabies, and for the life of me I continue to say, "Sorry, Charlie". At which point I always get, "Nan, I'm Austin/Ian/Alaina/Noah". Sweet Elle, I can still tell her 'no' with that remark and she just smiles and, taking it as a 'yes', goes ahead with what she wanted to do. Doesn't mean a thing to her as to what I call her. Just as long as I call her. For snacks. For snuggles. For playing. Do YOU remember Charlie Tuna?! He's 50 this year. Happy birthday to a fish that brought so many weird looks from little ones to young to remember him.

More Storage & Decorating Ideas

We love our fuzzy, snuggly blankets in our home. Even the mister uses them when he decides to take a nap on the sofa, and our girls?! One or all of them are always grabbing one when they come over. So I don't ever pack them away. What I do is toss them in a large basket we keep near the television. This is not an original idea {smile font} but one shown to me by a sweet friend a couple of years ago. We've enjoyed it ever since and from now on there will be a 'snuggly' basket by the entertainment center. Hint: keeps your sofa from always looking ruffled with blankets all over them! 
We lost having a fireplace and mantel when we decided to sell our home and move into an apartment complex until we could decide what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go. I miss having a mantel to decorate for the seasons, especially at Christmas. This shelf from Hobby Lobby, bought at half price!, solves the problem. At least until we have another fireplace. Don't know about you, but I love gas logs and the warmth and look they give on a cold wintry night. Our cable plug and an outlet is located behind the shelf and I painted the wiring the color of the wall in order to blend in. And they do! You don't have a fireplace? Hobby Lobby has an abundance of long, and short, shelves that will fit the bill. 
Suitcases. I love love love old suitcases and must have a dozen of them. I've used them as end tables for years and this is where the Christmas decor for that particular room is stored. Not all of the decor will fit in there, but it's so handy to have it all at hand each Christmas season. You could also use them to hold seasonal clothing, seasonal dinnerware, or the notes and pictures from a child. Sadly, it's a bit harder to find old suitcases now than it was ten, fifteen years ago but they are still out there. Happy Hunting!
I found this adorable chest at Paravicini's in downtown Prattville about three years ago and I'm still in love. There is a bit of wall space (you can see from the baseboard) between our kitchen entry and the door to the Master suite. This fits there perfectly. I really need to 'pretty' up the shelves behind the glass, which is where I store my stationary and my Partylite candles. Love Love Love Partylite candles! And no, I'm not a consultant but I can put you in touch with mine! I just call her and they come right to my home! Annnnyway, the drawers hold cameras and batteries, and all the odd stuff like screwdrivers, nail sets, and hammers that you need to have close every once in a while. Love the color of the chest, too!
Moving into the Master bedroom, I have found using bachelor chests instead of bedside tables holds a world of items. And in a small abode, you want to have as much storage as possible. These work great! One is ancient and really showing its age. We got it when we built our first home about 25 years ago! I just keep my furniture pens at hand and color in the nicks and bruises. The other I traded for a desk I didn't want anymore. Even trade and I think I got the better end of the deal. Unfortunately, depending on where we're living, I may not be able to use both by the bed. However, I simple use the other on another wall and put a mirror above it. Looks like a small dresser! 
The wicker storage tower? Again, Hobby Lobby at half price. Seriously, I don't know how you decorate without a Hobby Lobby or a Kirklands. Our local Goodwill is NOT great on carrying anything but clothing so there's no going there for something. We do have a great flea market but by the time I spend on fixing something up, I'd rather spend the $24.99 it took to get this one already prettified. Is that a word?! Oh, and have I told you I'm a bit lazy when it comes to painting and faux finishing furniture. Used to when the girls were at home, not that way now {wink font}.
See that framed photograph of the Biltmore Mansion?! That was taken by another girlfriend, I found the frame with mat for $4.99 at Hobby Lobby and love how it turned out! Thanks, Lynne! (I DID ask her if it was okay to use her work. Always do that. In fact, I've gathered some beautiful shots of Venice from a Facebook friend that she took while there with her husband and I've already told her I'd be back asking for permission before I print and frame any of them. It's just the nice thing to do.)
This spot in my bath makes me smile. I painted around the tub with the colors in our kitchen and found the framed picture on sale at Kirkland's. Wooden bowl of twine, twig ball on candlestick, a vase that was someone's cast off, and weedy looking things in the sale bin at Michael's. I do love the look. One of my favorites in our home.
I hope this has helped give you some ideas in your home or that of someone you know that's having difficulty finding a place for everything. If you have something to share and you don't have a blog, please leave me a comment with your ideas or email me with photos of your ways of finding storage. I'll share on a future post.
Until you're here again, have a beautiful week and one that's filled with much love and laughter. If you like what you've seen while here in my spot of the world, I would love for you to become a follower! Have a blessed evening ~

Decor & Storage for Small Spaces

We have an abundance of storage at The Park but it's still smaller than homes we've owned. As empty nesters and wanting to downsize, I thought I'd share with you some ideas you can adapt to fit your own needs should you be faced with small spaces in which to call home. Let's start in the laundry. The above photo are the cabinets above the washer and dryer. (Yeah, I know! Cabinets and NOT plastic ClosertMaid shelves!) On top I have some fall arrangements that were too large for the cabinets, along with chargers and platters too large for the lower cabinets. I have a step stool folded up beside the washer that makes getting these items on top a breeze.
As I was loading the cabinets with items I knew would be there, I became frustrated that my cleaning supplies wouldn't fit! Solution?! Take out the shelf, reposition the plastic holders, replace shelf, and John had one happy housewife that evening! Do it! It's so work it! 
Still have lots of storage in the upper cabinets and I can get my cleaning needs in here easily and nicely without stretching a muscle to get them or having to leave them sitting out on top of the washer. Yuck.
When we were living in the two bedroom, we had a bit more room in the laundry and I was able to hang first a large mirror, and then a large framed print over the electrical box. Because the dryer door swings so closely to the box that idea didn't work here in the townhome. Drat. I decided against painting this laundry. Had I done so, I would've painted the box.  See the shelf in the corner? Hobby Lobby and so light weight. We love it. The bottom shelf holds place mats and a basket with all the plastic sippy cups that were running over in my cabinet by the sink. This way, each child can go choose their own and I don't have to store them. The next shelf up holds snacks and there's a Ball jar holding straws behind the basket. Top shelf is my shelf that holds photos and drawings that makes me smile.
This is the wall facing the appliances. I have several hooks here to hold delicates that need to dry and an insulated bag I take to the pool. If you have a blank wall opposite your washer and dryer, that's an ideal place for hangers and hooks! Use it. You'll need every inch of space in a smaller abode.
Our refrigerator is on the wall going into the laundry and I would really like for you to pay attention to what I'm about to tell you. Are you ready? Please don't put cereal boxes and food and stuff you can't find a place for on top of your fridge. If you'll organize, throw away what you don't eat, what's past it's prime date, you can put a decorative vignette up there and you can even run an electric cord and a night light. This one came from Kirkland's and stays lit 24/7. I think it's a 4 watt bulb and yes, I change this area out with the seasons. Food does not go on top of your fridge. In it. Not on it.
We do not have the drawers I am used to so I have had to be inventive and one of those ways was to use my Pampered Chef holder tucked into the corner by the refrigerator. I placed a square framed print behind it, and a iron and crystal candle holder to dress up an otherwise useful area. Another option would be to find three crocks and separate your utensils into wood/bamboo, stainless, and items not used often. I like that the black makes it blend in rather nicely against the side of the fridge. And while we're on the fridge, I'm going to step on toes here, but try to keep items with magnets to a minimum. We keep a calendar on our counter so there is no need for one on the fridge. If you have to, try to use the sides, not the front that will be seen. 
There is a large opening running from the top to the  bottom of these cabinets, which enabled me to have a night light on the top and one by the coffeemaker. Again, all of these came from Kirkland's and stay on 24/7. They never get hot and we've never (in 27+ years) had a heat problem. Just dropped a long electric cord down and it was easy to have holiday lights up there as well during the winter months. 
The three set by the coffee maker came from Kirkland's and holds our Splenda, and two flavored coffemates. The corner is always decorated at our homes, as I prefer not having a large mixer out since I do not cook with one that often. The tray is propped against the wall as I use it and didn't want to try and find a place to put it and possibly forget about it!
We only have three small drawers. One holds table utensils, another ladles and large knives, another slim drawer holds my plastic spatulas and the other holds smaller knife sets. Which left me wondering where I was going to put the hand towels. A basket and rolling the colorful cloths solved that problem. It's easy to grab one and they make for a pretty combination under the print. At Christmas, I changed them out to match the Wintry print I had there. Plate holders?! Gotta have 'em in a smaller space. The ones we are using for the season stay here. Others stay in a cabinet above. I love plates, salad plates, and dessert plates. This was a handy idea to accommodate my collections!
Here's one of the narrow drawers beside the oven. 
Using Rubbermaid items can really maximize your space!
This is above the oven and a good place for it. 
Again, the smallest pantry we've had but with a little thought and organization, you can actually put so much in your space. Use baskets, use jars and large open containers. If you Google 'organized pantry' and click on Photos, you'll find a world of pics to learn from. This one works for me. 
I love the turn-arounds!

When we moved in, I noticed a problem right off. Where to put the trashcan! Or rather, where to put it so that we didn't stumble over it or have to move it out of the way to get to a bottom cabinet. There wasn't room in the laundry and I didn't want it in there anyway. My sweetheart came up with a plan and it works! I hung a wreath hanger over the door (should paint it white!) and the bag hangs there until about half full at which time we take it down and it hangs on the laundry room handle for the next day or two. 
The scented bags make the pantry smell good, too! Here's why we couldn't put it on this wall. The air return is there. But to tell you the truth, I like having it hanging and not worrying about keeping finger prints off a silver trashcan! 
Again, you can see I love Rubbermaid organizers!
And the University of Alabama! 
The Melamine plates are for the g'babies.
Lightweight and happy looking.
Again, more organizers!
I hope this has given you some fresh ideas and that you'll find time to organize your kitchen a bit so that when you open a cabinet, a drawer, or just walk into that part of your home, you want to smile. Chaos creates stress and anxiety. Try to get to the point that you're bringing serinity into your home. As mothers, wives, and working women, we need all the calmness we can find. Can I hear an Amen?!

~ from The Letter Writer ~

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