Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Fleas

Marc and I enjoy roaming the flea markets when we travel, sometimes finding a treasure or two to bring home. Les Puces de Saint-Ouen is the largest flea market we’ve ever been to, and the most famous one in Paris.
We spent several hours at the market and saw everything from cheap plastic toys to expensive antique furniture. We didn’t see any bargains, but it was a very interesting adventure. When we got hungry we ate a warm Nutella crepe…mmm…it was yummy!

This piece called out to us from one of the antique shops. It now has a home in the niche in the entryway of our house.

Do you browse the flea markets?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Diet in Paris…I Don’t Think So!

One thing I was really looking forward to in Paris was pastry/bread, and I was not disappointed. It seemed like there was a boulangerie and/or patisserie on every other corner. I was in heaven!


Each morning I walked across the street from the apartment and purchased fresh warm croissants for breakfast. This could easily become a morning ritual.

I think I ate about five pastries/croissants a day and never gained a pound because I walked so much. I could go to Paris just for the pastries! A word of advice…INDULGE...leave the diet at home.

Friday, June 7, 2013

I Love Fragonard

I have a weakness for European soap. I love the way is smells and the way it feels on my skin. It’s so creamy and perfumes the whole bathroom. I purchased these soaps from the Fragonard store in Montmartre. They smell WONDERFUL and I can’t wait to use them!
Do you have a weakness for soap?



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Montmartre Photo Shoot

While strolling in Montmartre we came upon a photo shoot, which was quite interesting. It was very low-key. Everyone was quietly doing their job…I’m sure some people didn’t even notice what was going on. We didn’t want to get in the way, so these are the only pictures we have to share.
The model…
...the backdrop.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Perusing Place du Tertre

Near Sacrė-Couer is an area called Place du Tertre. It’s a bustling area where many artists set up their easels and paint. Some artists do portraits for the tourists while others paint Parisian landscapes. Marc enjoys purchasing pieces from local artists wherever we travel.

He purchased this piece…
…from this artist.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sacrė-Couer – Part 2

Here is a view of Sacrė-Couer from the front. It was a beautiful sunny day, so there were many people visiting the church.
 From the front of the church there were wonderful views of Paris.
Playing for the crowd and selling his CD’s. 

We walked up, but decided to take the funicular down.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Basilique du Sacrė-Couer

Here are a few images of the Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacrė-Couer), which was a two minute walk up a few hundred stairs from our apartment.  This is not the front of the church, but the view you see at the top of our stairs.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

We’re Home from Paris

     Our trip to Paris has ended and we’re back at home. We had another great adventure that I'll be sharing in the days to come.
     I had posted earlier that I was only taking one carryon bag, since we were renting and apartment with a washing machine. That idea worked out well, until I started shopping. In the end I had to buy a piece of cheap (20 euro) luggage to check, so I could get everything home. 
     We stayed at this apartment in Montmartre and it was WONDERFUL! I highly recommend staying here.


     The rain came down most days we were there, but we didn’t let it slow us down.
     It’s springtime in Paris…and it was fabulous!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

It's Only Rock-n-Roll

     Marc and I have an upstairs bonus room in our house. It has a little cubby hole area we didn't think was going to be very useful, because it's small. We finally came up with a solution.
Since we needed a place to put our jukebox, we thought we should work with the music idea. We started to compile a list of our favorite bands/albums from when we were teenagers. This was an interesting task because we didn't really have the same taste in music. Then we had to decide which ones were "wall worthy" because we were going to hunt down these albums, frame them and hang them on the wall.
     We've had so much fun with this project! Marc and I didn't know each other when we were teenagers and lived in different parts of the country. We've had a great time sharing the memories that are tied to all these albums. We haven't found all of our favorites yet, so some of the ones that are hanging are just the walls look finished. At some point we'll probably hang some curtains and add some fun carpet, but for now we're just doing the fun stuff.

     What do you think? Bring back any teenage memories?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Getting Organized With Stylebook

     Do you ever feel like you have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear? Have you ever purchased a black tank top, only to get home and realize you already have three of them? Do you ever find really cute shoes in the store, but just can't remember what you already have that you can wear with them? This happens to me over and over...for more than three decades!
     I've recently found a tool that is helping me stop the madness. Stylebook is an app for the iPhone that allows me to take pictures of my clothes and accessories, then organize them into meaningful categories. This is helping me not only clean out my closet, but now I know exactly what's in my closet. When I go to Ann Taylor and see a cute pair of white jeans, I can look on my phone to see what I have in my closet to wear with them.
     I can shop for items on my phone and save the picture/information to a list, which will help me get what I need and not spend so much on spur of the moment purchases. Wow...thats a win-win situation for me!
     I can also keep track of what I wear, so I can figure out what really works for me and what is just taking up valuable space in my closet.
     It takes a bit of time to take all the pictures...I'm still working on it, but it's worth the time. There are plenty of helpful videos on the website, and the cost of the app is just a few dollars.
     Below is a picture of a  'Look' I saved with the app.
     I took the pictures of the jacket, tank and bracelet myself. I had a hard time getting a good picture of the jeans, so I took the picture from the Ann Taylor site with the app. I also took the picture of my cute Sperry's from the internet.
     I'm well on my way to having an organized closet and spending my clothing dollars a bit more wisely. I'm not sure it means I won't spend as much money, but maybe I'll have a better wardrobe.
     I'm up to the challenge. How about you? Is your closet organized? If so, what is your strategy?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes

     Over the last week I've been enjoying all the blog posts showing spring flowers, and patiently waiting for mine to start blooming. Yesterday it was a sunny 79 degrees here in Oklahoma, and a few of my tulips opened up. I was so excited I grabbed my phone and took a picture...

     What a difference a day makes! Today it's 30 degrees and we're getting freezing rain. My delicate tulips are frozen to the ground.
     Here in Oklahoma we have severe and sudden weather changes, but this is a little ridiculous. Come on, Mr. Sun!!! I sure do appreciate all of you who are posting pictures of spring flowers!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Perfect Travel Purse

     When traveling, I like to carry a lightweight purse so I'm not bogged down. It needs to be a crossbody bag, so I can throw it on and forget about it. A crossbody bag feels secure...if a theif wants to snatch it from me he/she will have to really work for it. I just purchased a Coach legacy signature swingpack.
      I have one of these in tan and red, so I know it's the perfect travel bag for me. It has an adjustable strap, so I can choose whether or not to wear it as a crossbody bag. This bag measures 7 1/2" X 8 1/2" and has two outside pockets. It's the perfect size to carry my wallet, lipgloss, comb, iPhone and a few other small things such as a camera. Everything is zipped and secure. The two outside pockets are great for carrying maps and museum pamphlets.
What do you carry when you travel?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Feels Like Home in Paris

We're off to Paris for two weeks in May. We've be living in this apartment in Montmartre.
It comes with a Mac with WIFI, 50% off on a cooking class at Cook'n With Class cooking school and the use of an iPhone loaded with helpful apps and free calls to the US.

Doesn't it look too CUTE?!!
Source: Images

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Favorite Vacation Tech Gadget

     I’m always looking for the best tech gadget to take on vacation. I need something that gives me access to the internet, allows me to journal my trip each day and has enough storage to hold all the pictures I download daily. My latest solution is the iPad.
     I use a white 16 GB iPad with Wi-Fi, but no cellular. I added an app that allows me to journal my vacation. The iPad has enough space to hold two weeks worth of vacation pictures and a nice size screen for viewing. I also added an Apple soft case, which protects the iPad nicely. I only use the iPad when I’m in my hotel room, so I don’t need to have the added expense of an iPad that requires a data plan. This machine is slim and lightweight, so it’s very easy to pack.
     When I’m not using it on vacation it gets plenty of use at home.

What's your favorite vacation tech gadget?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Love My New Steamer!

     I really enjoy picking up my dry cleaning, because I don't have to iron my clothes. I wish I could afford to send everything to the dry cleaner, but that's not very practical.
     Recently I purchased a Rowenta IS6200 Steamer, and it seems to be helping my mood when it comes time to iron my clothes. The steamer heats quickly and the wrinkles just fade away. There's an attachment to make creases, so I can still put a nice crease in my jeans without using an iron. I think the steamer is easier on fabric than an iron, because the steamer never actually touches the fabric.

     It took me a little time to get the hang of using the steamer, but short of having someone else do my ironing, the steamer is my new friend.

Source: Image

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New Shoes

     Last spring I discovered Sperry Top-Sider shoes. I bought a pair to wear with jeans and capris, but did not realize I would want to wear them every single day. They are made well and have good arch support. They're so comfortable I can wear them all day, even if I am doing a lot of walking.
     I had a hard time choosing a new pair for this spring, because there are so many styles and colors. I finally chose the Angelfish Slip-on Boat Shoe in navy.
     Aren't they cute?

Source: Image

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fool's Day

Real friends are those who, when you feel you’ve made a fool of yourself, don’t feel you’ve done a permanent job. ~Unknown author
Source: Image

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Markets of Paris

     I enjoy visiting the markets in Europe, because they allow me to meet the people as they go about their daily lives. Since Paris has so many markets, I figured I'd better have to have a plan for my upcoming trip.  
     I recently purchased the book Markets of Paris Second Edition, by Dixon Long & Marjorie R. Williams. It's 300 pages of every kind of market you could imagine. There are markets for food, antiques, crafts, books, fabric, name it, it's there.
     This book is organized by arrondissement. Each listing shows the market type, name, Metro stop, date/times, as well as a brief description of the market. There are many pictures throughout the book to entice you.
     Included is a section of restaurants, as well as helpful books, blogs and websites. In addition, there are two maps with the markets plotted, to give you a good visual idea where they are located. The copyright date is 2012, and the size of the book is only 4 x 6, so it's current and small enough to pack. 

     I'll be taking this book to Paris. I'm sure I'll be checking out the museums, but the markets are where I'll really learn about the local culture. I'm so excited!
     When you travel, how do you learn about the local culture?

Source: Image

Friday, March 29, 2013

Introducing Buttercup and Meatball

     I’d like to introduce you to my precious little English Bulldogs, Buttercup and Meatball. Aren’t they cute? I am head over heels in love with these dogs. They are sweet, gentle, make me laugh, and are always happy to see me.
     Buttercup (on the left) is almost 4 years old and follows me wherever I go. She likes to lay right by my feet, and follows me from room to room.

     Meatball is 4 ½ years old and will do anything for a treat. As soon as the sun goes down he’s ready to call it a day and will give me a low growl until I put him to bed. He likes me to shut him in his house (wire kennel) so Buttercup won’t disturb his beauty sleep.

     They bring great joy to my life.
     How about you? Do you have pets you love?


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Paris Travel Planning

     As I’ve previously mentioned, Marc and I are going to Paris in May. WooHoooo...let the planning begin! Here are the books I’m using to help plan our trip. They both have lots of information about places to see and things to do, along with practical information about how to get around. There also is a very useful section on French words and phrases. In addition, there are plenty of maps and pictures…I need pictures to get my attention.
     These books, along with suggestions from my friends at Slow Travel are what I’m using to plan a fun trip to Paris.
     What do you use to plan your trips?
Source: Image_1, Image_2

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Do You Hulu?

     Yesterday I mentioned that we canceled our $79.99 a month cable TV and added Hulu for $7.99 per month. In the past we’ve heard about Netflix and Hulu as an alternative to cable, but never did anything about it.

     We decided to research these alternatives partly because we were looking for ways to save money, and also because there are only a few shows on cable that we actually watch.

     In my opinion, Netflix and Hulu are both good ideas. Netflix seems to have more movies and Hulu appears to have more TV programs. Since we have many movies on DVD, we decided to go with Hulu.

     We’ve been using Hulu for a few weeks and I feel liberated! Now I choose what I want to watch, and when the program ends I get up and do something else. I no longer get caught up in the mind-numbing trap of sitting in front of the television. If I want to watch TV, I have to make a conscious decision to watch a specific program.

     Not only are we saving money, but I have so much free time I was finally able to start my blog.

 So tell me…Do you Hulu?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Taking a Good Hard Look at How We Spend Money

     With talk of the Sequester being implemented in the near future by the US Government, many people are re-evaluating how they spend their money.

     Whether there’s crisis or not, I think it’s a good idea once in awhile to take a good hard look at how we spend money. Here are a few adjustments we have made at our house.

  1. The bill was $79.99 a month for cable TV. We canceled it and added HuluPlus (more about this in another post) for $7.99 per month.
  2. Go to the grocery store with a list and stick to it. This helps us not load the basket with every goody we see. It also helps us avoid returning home with tons of food, but nothing for dinner.
  3. Cook at home…what a concept! Now that we have the proper ingredients in the pantry we actually cook, instead of going out so often. This saves a lot of money and the food is much better at home.
  4. Only purchase food we intend to eat in a certain time period. This helps us not buy things that get lost in the back of the fridge and pantry. You know, like the cake mix that has an expiration date of 2009, or the Tupperware with the mystery food at the back of the fridge.
  5. Portion control…we now cook for two instead of five. If there are leftovers, we eat them!
  6. Pay attention to the cost of gas and adjust driving habits. Now we use the internet or telephone instead of driving to the other side of the city to see if Best Buy has a particular movie.
  7. Amazon is a great way to save money on books and many other products. Quite often the postage is free.
  8. Replace light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs and join the energy saving program offered by the local electric company.
  9. Re-evaluate home and auto insurance. We were happy to find that we already had great coverage at an affordable price.
  10. Refinance mortgage at a much lower rate. Although our payment went up slightly, we were able to lower the interest rate so much we went from a 30-year to a 15-year mortgage. WooHoooo…can you say happy dance?
     With these changes we are saving money and time…and the food is better. I’m sure there are many other things we can do in addition to the few I’ve mentioned. I’d love to hear about them.

     Do you have any tips on how to save money?

Monday, March 25, 2013

How About a Midnight Dessert Buffet?

     My good friend, Tracy, is preparing to go on her first Caribbean cruise. This got me to thinking about cruising. One of the things I really enjoy is the midnight dessert buffet. One day during the cruise you’ll hear the buzz all around the ship about the buffet. The only catch is you have to be able to stay awake till midnight, which sometimes is hard to do.

     At midnight, everyone is allowed to view and take pictures of the food. There are tables full of every kind dessert you can imagine and they are like tasty pieces of art. After the viewing, everyone gets to eat.

Don’t they look AMAZING?



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Introducing Baby Keira

     I’m thrilled to announce the newest addition to my family, Keira Marie. She is the first child for my oldest son, Keith, and Patricia. This picture was taken just two hours after she was born.

I think she’s a keeper!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Big Green Egg

     Have you ever heard of a Big Green Egg? It’s a ceramic cooker that can grill, smoke and bake. High temperature grilling is quick and easy, and slow smoking can be achieved even at a low 200 degrees. The Big Green Egg bakes bread, casseroles, cobbler and pies…even pizza! The air-tight ceramic cooking chamber retains heat and keeps food moist. What a great idea!
     Marc has been drooling over the Big Green Egg for over a year, so I bought him one for his 50th birthday.  His birthday isn’t until August, but I gave it to him early so he can have the whole grilling season to use it. I’m excited to taste his creations.

     Happy grilling, Marc!

Friday, March 22, 2013

How I Decorate My Walls

     When Marc and I purchased our home we wanted to find a way to make it interesting and unique. We have 10-ft. ceilings, so covering the walls was going to be a challenge. We LOVE to travel, so we decided to fill our walls with our own photos.

     This has turned out to be a fantastic idea! Everyday we walk through the house and are reminded of the places we’ve been and the great moments we’ve shared.

Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Mercato Centrale(Central Market) in Florence, Italy

A canal in Venice, Italy

A window in Venice

Gondolas in Venice
      I have to admit there is probably one wall-worthy photo for every hundred we’ve taken, but it sure is fun to find the “one” and choose just the right place to hang it.

      How do you decorate your walls?