Saturday, January 31, 2015

How To Pack Efficiently

Sometimes I happen upon stories or blog posts that I fear I'll never be able to find again. Following is one of those blog posts.

The post is by India Hicks. If you don't know who she is, Google her. What a fascinating life. So, to make sure I'll always be able to find it, here it is:


Tampa, Miami, London, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, London, New York, Boston.
1 fashion shoot, 4 live shows on the HSN network, 2 parents meetings, 1 mammogram, several appointments to place new season orders for my shop, work appointments, and a UK bank holiday weekend with my mother.
Three weeks, one over night bag. Because I refuse, just refuse, to stand around waiting for my luggage to come out on those carousals. Standing waiting for your luggage can take up to forty minutes, sometimes an hour, especially at those crazy big airports. One hour. 6 airports. 6 hours.
Imagine what I could do with 6 extra hours. I could sleep for a start.
So I pack a neat little wardrobe, all about items of clothing that could be mixed and matched in different ways.
The key is the colour scheme. Keep the colours subdued and you can get away with almost anything. And the shoes. Change the ballet flat to a heel and you go from day to night. 
Its a high low mix: tee shirts from Target, jeans from Zara, reliable Ralph shirts, a reversible scarf, blazer for business, leather jacket for travel, Helmut Lang and Day for those in between European moments. Running shoes with a packable sole, a big old statement piece of jewelry from Maiyet, Finlay wooden sunglassesMasini & Chern tropical pattered PJ’s in a drawstring bag, Beyond Yoga for Goop running gear, wash bag with FDA sized products, and three sets of slightly dodgy underwear. 
Et voilĂ .

India's dachshund is named Bangar. Isn't he cute?

Here are the outfits she squeezed into the bag:

Friday, January 30, 2015

Youngest Makes Me Happy

I'm posting this picture for no particular reason other than, when I see it, it always makes me happy.

This is Youngest skiing at Keystone, Colorado, several years ago. The hat is indicative of his fun-loving personality. The picture (and the kid) make me happy.

It's Been a Good Day

So often at the end of the day I can't account for anything of significance that I accomplished. I wake up, get lunches made, kids off to school, then the mundane robs the remainder of my day. It's those days I cringe when, by chance, I'm asked, "What did you do today?" Answering is always a bit damaging to my pride - cleaned the pool, did some laundry, sorted through the gazillion emails piled up in my Inbox, picked up the dog crap in the yard. You get my drift.

But how satisfying are those rare days that were very productive. Today has been one of those days. I got lots of items checked off my to-do list today, bills all paid, and a few outstanding business issues resolved. Now I look forward to dinner at a favorite Mexican restaurant with Superman and good friends tonight.

It's been a good day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

More Than a Little Overwhelmed

I've got lots of balls in the air right now with designing a new house, getting another home ready for resale, remodeling a lake house, transitioning off a business project, and all the regular (and irregular) kids activities. Sometimes I catch myself sitting and staring into space. It's the feeling of being overwhelmed with too many things to do and not knowing what to do first. My mind occasionally falls victim to the fight or flight syndrome, with flight being the chosen course.

I've tried eating better, you know, more fruits and vegetables, fewer gummy bears and Pop Tarts. But the extra energy boost I was hoping for hasn't kicked in yet.

I think I need one of those lazy weekends spent in my pajamas. The weekends where you get up in the morning, piddle around for a bit, maybe eat something, then head back to bed for a late morning nap. Then get up for lunch and do it all over again. Yeah, that's what I need. Will it happen? Probably not.

But here's a picture of a beautiful interior I pinned to Pinterest for inspiration. Maybe it will help motivate me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chatting With Sandra Brown

Last August, author Sandra Brown retweeted a picture I took while reading her latest book, Mean Streak. Call me superficial, but it was such a thrill it cemented my position as one of her biggest fans.

Since reading Mean Streak (my first Sandra Brown book), I have read eight more of Brown's books in the last five months. And I plan to read more. The power of social media? Maybe.

Social media has changed a lot of things, one of the most notable being the increased accessibility of celebrities. Now celebrities can communicate directly with fans through posts on Facebook or instantly upload selfies to Instagram on which we mere mortals can comment. Celebrities can even reply directly to a fan's tweet on Twitter.

This last week, I posted a question on where, at the end of the week, Sandra Brown was going to answer all the questions posted from fans. On Friday, Brown replied to my question. Now I feel I've chatted with my favorite author twice - first on Twitter, now on wattpad. What fun.

sandra brown romantic suspense

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blah Blah Blah

In all my research through books and articles about writing novels, including interviews with best-selling authors, the one pervasive piece of advice that always turns up is: If you want to learn how to write, then write, and write often.

I started this blog last October with the intention of heeding this advice. I haven't been very regular in posting, but I'm going to correct that. I realize the importance of writing often, not just every now and again. And since I'm getting closer to starting my first novel, the urgency in flexing my literary muscles has reached the critical point. So my apologies to any future internet surfer who happens to stumble upon my personal rambles and musings.

But in my post today, I'm going to let you in on one of my New Year's resolutions. This year I vow to get hot. No, not hot as in Gisele Bundchen hot (I could only dream), but hot the way Kelly Bensimon defines it - Healthy Options Today. 

I've been fascinated with Kelly Bensimon since I watched season 4 (the only season I've seen) of The Real Housewives of New York in 2011. Kelly left the show after season 4, and since she was really the only reason I tuned in, I've never watched the series since.

Out of all the women on the show, Kelly fascinated me the most. She's a bit kooky but very fun-loving, gregarious, and always has a smile. And she's a total knockout.

I was cyberstalking Kelly recently to find out how she does it - motherhood, businesswoman, writer - and came across I Can Make You Hot, a book Kelly published in 2012 detailing her diet and exercise habits. Of course I ordered it immediately. I've read the first two chapters and will finish the rest of the book by this weekend. It's my go-to manual on how to get hot this year. I'll post on the book and my progress in the future. I apologize ahead of time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Good Bones

After a fabulous first meeting yesterday with my architect, I'm more excited than ever about the design of our new house. The architect comes highly recommended by my builder, and now I understand why. He shares our admiration for the beauty and simplicity of classic architecture.

It's so important to get the bones of a house right. The scale and proportions of an exterior elevation are critical to building a timeless house, one that's appeal is not trendy, but will endure for the ages.

A cursory glance at the majority of new homes being built today reveal that priority is typically put on bigger, or more. More windows, in fact, a dozen different sizes and shapes; more roof changes, various gables and angles with different pitches, a plethora of finish materials and colors, and on and on.

There's a reason timeless, classic architecture never goes out of style. Classical symmetry, scale and proportion are pleasing to the eye. That never changes.

Here are a few examples of houses, big and small, in classic architectural styles that withstand the test of time and fleeting trends.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A New House

After nearly thirteen years in our current home, we have decided to build a new house. We love the house we're in, but there's always something you wish you had different. Superman has always wanted a home office, I have always wanted a large walk-in closet, Middle wants her own bathroom, and the boys want a theater room. So after months of family debate, we've decided to make the move.

The week between Christmas and New Years was a busy one for us. The sellers of a house we're interested in (we really just want the lot) decided they were ready to sell. The busy between-holidays week was spent negotiating offers, reviewing paperwork and signing and resigning contracts.

Since then I have met with our builder who is a friend of ours and builds fabulous homes. I've poured through the file of pictures I've spent years collecting out of magazines. There have also been hours and hours of pinning to a secret Pinterest board.

I meet with the architect Monday and am really looking forward to it. I'll take him reams of pictures and hope he gets it. In the meantime, here are the three houses I'm using for inspiration. Just squint your eyes and try to meld them into one. See if you get it. Then check back later as I document our construction journey. Wish me luck.

building new house construction

building new house construction

building new house construction

Friday, January 9, 2015

Jonathan Swift Quote

"Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others."   -Jonathan Swift

Friday, January 2, 2015

William Faulkner Quote

"The past is never dead. It's not even past."    - William Faulkner

Change of Plans

What a great holiday season this year. For the first time since we bought the house last May, we spent over a week at the lake. It was so much fun. I'm sad there are only a few more days left before my kids go back to school.

The lake in winter is a completely different experience. Obviously no water sports are involved, so we have to find other ways of keeping busy. The holiday season lends itself to a lot of television watching, it's a week of bowl games. I think we watched all of them. We also read a lot, took a few naps, it was great. But now we're back in Houston and looking forward to the new year.

I had plans of starting my book this month, but something has come up. A couple days after Christmas we put a house on contract to purchase. Our plans are to tear the house down in a few months and build a new one, no small plans. So now I'm a bit overwhelmed and will push back starting my book until February.

In the meantime, I've been pouring through architectural pictures and interior design pictures preparing for a meeting Monday with our contractor. Building a house is not like remodeling a kitchen or a bathroom, there's so much to think about and do, so many decisions to be made. And I'm terrified of making the wrong ones. I don't get a redo if I get it wrong.

So I'll take this month to get everything organized and get the ball rolling on the new house. And in the meantime, I'll keep reading and planning for the new book.

It's going to be a great 2015.