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— Essentials —

Some of the Mayan artifacts Philip and I found in the Yucatan. Can you tell which ones are real and which ones I bought?
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I have a friend who changed jobs, moved to a new city on the other side of the country and put almost everything she owns in storage. I understand she doesn’t know whether her new job will work out, but I couldn’t leave my things behind. Almost, without exception, everything in my home is linked to family, friends and events in my life. Some remind me of tragedies while others represent happy times and great blessings.

They’re as much a part of who I am as my smile and my blue eyes.

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— Essentials —

Francois-Xavier’s and Claude Lalanne’s Sheep Chairs
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Last week’s blog about the “invisible man” sitting in the Spanish chair in my living room got me thinking about “my thing” for chairs. Whether they’re French, Spanish, Bauhaus or the chairs Mary Steenburgen hung on the wall in the 1979 film, Goin’ South with Jack Nicholson, I love chairs. Every few years I fall in love with a different style, but the chairs I really want don’t look anything like chairs.

They look like sheep.

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— Essentials —

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Isn’t it funny how things like smells and music can jog our memory and remind us of places we’ve been or experiences we’ve long since forgotten? Like every time I open the dresser drawers in the guest room, I’m reminded of my grandmother. Even after all these years the rose pattern on her drawer liners still smell like her favorite perfume, Elsa Schiaparelli’s “Shocking.” And today an online photograph of a room I’d never seen before struck a familiar chord. 

I knew it was related to a fabric I’d been seeking for over 10 years.

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— Essentials —

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People laugh when I refer to my cardboard box money, but they always understand what I mean. They may call it a retirement fund or their 401(k), but we’ve all been saving so we won’t have to live in a cardboard box under a bridge somewhere. 

Most of the time I’m good at managing my money, but sometimes I’m not.

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— Essentials —

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Most RV parks are their own little microcosms. Almost half of the “resort” where we are now is comprised of full-time residents, and we’re finding this to be the case in more and more parks. It has become a rare thing to stay at a park that doesn’t allow full-time residents, especially since they’re a steady source of income for park owners in off-season months when tourists and travelers don’t come around.

As for the full-timers, they aren’t necessarily what you’d expect. Well, some are, but the ones we’ve met on our evening walks, aren’t at all.

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— Essentials —

TARA SHAW AND BROTHER LUCCA AT HER NEW ORLEANS WAREHOUSE. PHOTOGRAPHS BY BRENDA COFFEE ©1010PARKPLACE, 2018
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For the last 25 years antique importer and designer, Tara Shaw, has walked through one open door after another. She calls it her spiritual journey. When a book agent told Tara, ‘I know you have a book in you,’ Tara said, “I sure do. I’ve been working on it since 2004.” Instead of sending the agent a book about design, Tara sent the memoir she’d been working on, The Coat Your Father Gave You. “I feel each person has a coat from God,” Tara said. “It’s very unique. Authentic. We listen to our heart, and it’s our calling. We go through the doors. That book was my spiritual stories from 20-something years of traveling in Europe and working in China and India.”

When her agent told Tara she didn’t want an Eat, Pray, Love book, Tara wrote the design book. It will be finished in 2019 and published by Abrams in 2020. 

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— Essentials —

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I may be many things, but one thing I know for certain… I am not wasteful. We’ve loved our Keurig machine for years now. We love the ease and convenience it provides to make exactly the coffee of your choice, in the size you want, exactly when you want it. I especially love the way it stays-put as we travel, its little rubber feet, clinging to it’s pride-of-place on the RV counter as we jaunt around the country. But trouble’s been brewing for a while now. Since we’ve been on the road, managing our coffee pod subscription delivery has become a challenge.

We’ve missed carefully planned deliveries, leaving us rationing pods like a couple of addicts. And then there’s the greater issue of the pods themselves. Wasteful, not recyclable.

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— Essentials —

BRENDA COFFEE REFLECTED IN HER POWDER ROOM MIRROR. PHOTOGRAPHS © JENNIFER DENTON, 2017.
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This time last year I took you on a video tour of the house I bought. That was the “Before.” Now I’m going to show you some of the “After.” Even though the house had been “flipped” before I bought it, the bathrooms were a disaster. On my first walk thru, the instant I saw the master bath and the powder room, I visualized what I wanted to change, and that’s never wavered.

Except for things like flooring, most of the pieces in my new bathrooms, I already owned, and each piece has a special story.

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