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Essentials

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From the time I was quite young and first read The Boxcar Children, the idea of living a very small life has appealed to me. Not small in the sense of unadventurous, safe, invisible… but small as in square footage. I’ve been a tiny house fan since the early 50’s!

A little back-story: In March, 2015, we sold our 3,500-square-foot home with a pool and large private yard. We had tired of being house-keepers. We downsized to a lovely 1,200-square-foot leased condo. Last July we downsized again, this time to our 900-square-foot apartment. Our motor home trip in April from Austin to Key West and points in-between, was all it took for us to commit to going “full-time” and downsizing into our 300-square-foot motor home. Continue Reading

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Considering my rocky start, it’s a wonder I’ve developed anything that could be considered style. In college my decor was Early Affordable which included bookshelves and an “entertainment center” made from bricks and boards found in an alley. My dining table was a giant wooden spool that once held telephone cables, and the dining chairs were smaller versions of the same spool.

Least you think I’m too matchy-matchy, the smaller spools just happened to be in the same alley.

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It was my friend Patrick who warned me about the dangers of theme decorating. I had regaled him with my dream of a Scheherazade-style dining room: kilim rugs on the floor, ikat runners down the table, camel-shaped teacups, brass candlesticks, giant paisleys painted on the walls, and heaping platters of Basmati rice on the buffet.

The whole scheme made Patrick nervous. He didn’t want to see my dining room jumping the shark. In the upper echelons of the design world, theme decorating is frowned upon. It’s a big fat no-no.

God forbid you decorate an entire house in beach décor when a tasteful trug of seashells will suffice. And even more pox upon you if your house is not situated on an actual beach.

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Have you heard the term Meatless Mondays? It became a popular term to promote one vegetarian meal a week for a healthier diet. Regardless of the day, beans are a great substitute for meat and are full of protein and fiber. I always have canned beans in my pantry, including black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, etc. I love preparing them in a variety of ways from entrées to salads. Today I am sharing three dinner recipes that can be made in 20 minutes.

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The author shopping the Paris flea market
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So who likes old things, please raise your hand. Me too!

A few years ago, I decided to open a shop selling antique and vintage objects and art. My shop would be online only, and in order to stand out from the crowd, I would curate my old treasures into stylish little vignettes that a person could plop into their home for an instant look.

It’s been really fun for one main reason, which you already know. Old things come with the juiciest stories attached to them. Continue Reading

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'Before'
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I don’t want to sound like some wacko who says, “God talks to me,” but over a year ago, I heard… let’s call it an “idea”… that I should sell the ranch. It was as clear as if someone were standing in the room, talking to me. Although this had never happened before, it wasn’t scary or alarming, and in my heart, I knew it was what I needed to do. A few days later, I put the ranch up for sale; the place James and I so loved and the place where he died.

The same day I went online, looking for an old buffet to hold mother’s crystal and china; things in storage I hadn’t seen for 10 years. Of all the things to search for… That was the weird part.

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When I heard that green is the color of the year for 2017, I had to laugh. Why? Over the years I’ve had various shades of green walls in a few rooms in my home. My woodwork and cabinets are a cream color, and the green was striking against it. However I got tired of it, and in the last year repainted the rooms a more neutral color. I guess I can look at it that I was ahead of the trend. Continue Reading

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In August of this year, 2016, I purchased one of what would become 2.8 million recalled Samsung, top-loading washing machines (involving 34 different models) that may EXPLODE FROM WITHIN. Samsung has known of almost 750, documented, serious consumer injuries and damages to consumer homes since 2011, but didn’t notify purchasers of a problem with their washing machines until November, 2016. They mailed us “warning labels” with instructions on how to apply them to their machines.

I love this line in their instructions: “You have successfully applied the under-the-lid warning label to your washer.” Gee… Am I supposed to feel better now?

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I’m excited about Plum Johnson’s They Left Us Everything, our next 1010 Park Place Book Club choice. I hope you loved it as much as I did.

In this award-winning book (that would make an amazing film à la The Family Stone), Johnson chronicles the process of caring for elderly parents, and emptying and selling the family home. As she sorts through her parents’ belongings, she explores the idea of family legacy, validity of memory and how much influence our family has on who we are as adults. She focuses particularly on her often contentious relationship with her mother, who was a larger-than-life Southern belle.

I asked Plum some questions about her book. If you have questions, she’ll be hanging out with us in the comments field and is happy to answer your questions.  Continue Reading