Confessions Of An Over-Decorator

Confessions Of An Over-Decorator

Oh my gosh! It’s fall. Finally!

Every year I desperately wait for the season of my favorite colors to arrive. I have to be physically restrained on Labor Day to keep from hauling out my season decor. I go crazy, even when my life is out of control busy, and there aren’t enough hours to sleep, write, work, read, play, exercise … you get the idea. But I always make time to deck my halls.

It all starts by moving my fall mugs to the front of the cabinet. This is today’s designer cup. I bought this beauty 13 years ago at Hobby Lobby (or as I like to call it, the mother ship). One year, I confess, I left it out all year.

Next comes the mantel. I use orange lights and a pricey piece of garland, because it holds up so well. I put the lights on a timer so they come on without me even thinking about them. I scatter vases, candles and gourds in among the leaves for a fuller effect. It’s so pretty when the sun goes down.

This year tragedy struck when I was pulling out my pumpkin stack. When I first saw the idea in a Martha Stewart’s magazine for carving and stacking pumpkins and lighting it, I was entranced. But I decided to make mine with poly-resin pumpkins so it would last a really long time. And it has. For 10 years I’ve been pulling the protective plastic bag off this and dragging it out of storage. This year, it was just too wobbly for me. It needed redoing anyway.  Eventually, it will look like this:

And even though I miss carving a real pumpkin, it is still beautiful.

So there you have it. Fall is my jam. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. Well, at least until Christmas comes. Happy leaf peeping!

 

What Was I Thinking

What Was I Thinking

I recently went back to work after being a stay at home writer for two years. I love writing, but  I worried about doing nothing but pounding away on my keyboard day after day. Some days I didn’t leave the house. I felt I never had anything interesting (or not writing related) to say to my husband.
I didn’t want to become one-dimensional (Flat Stanley might have gotten a new girlfriend in Flat Gemma). So I asked for my old job at the health club back. My boss said yes immediately, and that part-time would be perfect. 15-20 hours a week, I thought. Perfect.

Except …

The company was sold, and thanks to my steal-trap mind, I know a lot more about the old system than most of my co-workers (I know all the secrets, and all the best hiding spots). I am unable to get my behind out of the office once I hit the 4-hour threshold. It’s my goal every day, but if you multiply my 4 hours by 2, that’s how much I’m working. Each and every day.

So I try to sneak in writing time when I can. Up at 5 AM to write, writing at night after dinner. Doing my social media stuff when I can. Grocery shopping at night (a task I hate worst than cleaning the toilets, but we won’t be discussing my lack of time for cleaning the house).

I know there is a thing called work/life balance, but my teeter-totter is definitely stuck on the work side of things. But, with my usual Pollyanna attitude, I’m just going to leave a working song that always gives me happy feet.

Resolution Reality

Resolution Reality

resolution

 

The final strains of Auld Lang Syne are fading and a fresh, new year is upon us.

For many people, when the calendar rolls over, it’s time to take stock, have an honest look at your life, and see if you want to or need to make changes.

Studies say that less than 15% of people who make resolutions actually end up sticking with them.

So…how do you have a better chance?

I think enthusiasm counts for a lot. You have to be motivated enough to follow through. If some area of your life makes you miserable, then that discomfort is begging for a change, and you owe it to yourself to make it. If you don’t care enough to make a change, then you probably won’t make it/stick with it. The saying is true: If you want to, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse. Just know that IF you want to make a change, any change, you CAN make it happen.

heartandbrain

It takes just as much time to wish as it does to plan. Write out step-by-step plan of action. Seriously, a detailed step-by-step of how the resolution will fit into your daily life.

Accountability works. Share your goals with supportive friends and family. (The key word is supportive. You want a helpful cheering squad. No negativity allowed.)

If you’re making several changes, it may be better to tackle one at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed.

Have patience. If, for example, your goal was to lose twenty pounds, that’s not going to happen just because you went to the gym two times last week. But if you track your progress, say, noticing your strength increasing or that you’re losing a pound a week, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.

Know that you might slip up, and if you do, that’s okay. Start fresh the next day. In all things, be kind to yourself.

I took a poll and here are some common resolutions that people will be making for 2017: break a bad habit, take a trip, stand up for yourself more, spend more time with loved ones, de-clutter, be present, learn something new, take up a new hobby, help others, eat healthy, exercise more, get enough sleep, find a new job, face a fear, relax more and stop stressing out so much, and do more of what makes you happy.

Whatever you do, I hope that 2017 is your most amazing year ever!

Toasting you with a glass of champagne,

Susan-Sig

National WHAT??? Day

National WHAT??? Day

holiday

I love that every day has a holiday. Just last week, we celebrated National Pumpkin Day. While some people may think it’s silly, I think it’s fun.

And today, November 1st, has several for you to enjoy.

Up first – National Calzone Day 

Confession: I’ve only had one once. A long, long time ago. At the Philadelphia Art Museum’s cafeteria, believe it or not. And yes, it was artistic.

calzone

 

It’s also National Authors’ Day.

YAY! *jumps up and down* How did this one start?

In 1928, Nellie Verne Burt McPherson, president of the Bement, Illinois Women’s Club had an idea of setting aside a day to celebrate American authors. She wrote a fan letter to fiction writer Irving Bacheller. Upon receiving her letter, Bacheller sent her an autographed copy of a book. McPerson decided to show her appreciation by submitting an idea for a National Author’s Day to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.

author

So, what can you do? Send your favorite author a note to brighten their day.

 

Fitting in nicely with celebrating authors, it’s also National Family Literacy Day.

If you have kids – read to ’em. My mom read to us every night when I was little, and she loved books. She passed along that love to me.

family

 

And because pets are members of the family, you can celebrate with National Cook For Your Pets Day.

I don’t have a pet, but if I did, I might try this one, even though I avoid spending hours in the kitchen at all costs. Per the experts, consult your vet first.They’ll know your pet’s nutrition needs and can also tell you foods to avoid.

grain-free-sweet-potato-dog-treats-4

 

Now, this is an interesting one. It’s also National Vinegar Day.

This household product can be used for SO MANY THINGS, from cooking to cleaning to gardening. Yay for multi-purpose items!

vinegar

 

Hungry? It’s also National Deep Fried Clams Day.

According to research, fried clams have been on restaurant menus since 1865. And the modern deep fried version since 1916. 

clams

 

And after eating those clams, you can celebrate National Brush Your Teeth Day.

This holiday is designed to remind and encourage parents to get their kids brushing their teeth for just two minutes, twice a day.

brush

 

So there you have it. All of today’s holidays. Now, which one are you going to celebrate? 

I really love that there’s something to celebrate every day because every day should be a celebration anyway. (Let’s hear it for the optimists!)

Susan-Sig

p.s. According to National Calendar Day, there are over 1200 national holidays. Want to know what to celebrate next? Check them out: http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/

It’s National Best Friends’ Day!

It’s National Best Friends’ Day!

Best friends enjoying time together outdoors at ferris wheel - Concept of freedom and happiness with two girlfriends having fun - Vintage filtered look

Post by Carrie Elks

Today is National Best Friend’s day in the UK, so what better thing to write than about all those fantastic people who have supported me in my life, and who I try to support in return?

The concept of ‘Best Friends’ is a strange one, really. It starts at grade school, when at the age of 5 or 6 you change best friends as often as you change your clothes. For girls, at least, it’s a rite of passage to have a best friend.

Then, as we grow older, our friendships develop and change. Some of my most intense (and emotional) relationships were during the years of 13 – 16. Of course some of this may be down to the fact I went to an all-girls’ school, so there were no gorgeously emo boys to moon about. Still, hearing the words, “you’re not my best friend anymore” were as painful as any breakup I was to have in later life. At that age, my best friends were my world. I saw them every day at school, I talked to them every night on the phone. I count myself lucky that there was no social media back then, because the group chats would probably have been brutal!

Nowadays I have a lot of very close friends. They range from my family (who seriously rock my world) to old school friends, plus those fantastic women who I bonded with when I had children and we cried and laughed together daily. There’s also a new category that’s only come along recently – my online writing world friends. Some of them I chat to constantly, not only about books and writing but also about our lives and the ups and downs. I may not have met all of them, but they know the real me and haven’t run away screaming, which I count as a major win.

Friends. I couldn’t live without them. I wouldn’t want to. So even though it’s only morning here, I’m raising a glass to each and every one of you. Thanks for being there for me, you guys are the best.

 

Seventeen Years — How the Heck Did We Get Here?

Seventeen Years — How the Heck Did We Get Here?

Today my husband and I are celebrating seventeen years of marriage. Which feels weird. It doesn’t feel like we’ve been married that long, but then again it also feels feel like I’ve known him all of my life. Yesterday someone commented that marriage longevity was almost unheard of these days. We both laughed it off and counted off celebrity marriages that didn’t last more than five years. So it got me thinking about how the Swede and I have managed to keep our marriage strong, even when dealing with the wacky cultural differences and my general grumpiness–yes, I think I am pretty similar in temperament to a Border Terrier. I am cute and cuddly and grumpy. But I digress! I think I’ve come up with 5 reasons that–after over twenty years of being a couple and seventeen of them being married–the Swede and I work so well together.
1. We don’t live in each other’s pocket
Even when we first met and we were sometimes attached at the hip (and the lip), we gave each other space. I have my moments when all I want to do is read or write. Or when I am moody and just want to be alone. The Swede is the same. He needs his personal space, and I give it to him. Just because we’re married doesn’t mean that we can’t have separate interests. And I think this is a mistake a lot of couples make. They don’t give each other personal space. And just as every relationship needs quality time together, it also needs quality time apart. Sometimes I go on vacation by myself, he does the same. When we’re together again, we feel recharged.
2. Mutual respect
We respect one another. Even when we’re driving each other crazy, we always respect one another. Even when we’re angry at one another, we don’t intentionally say or do anything to hurt one another. I admire his intelligence and his integrity. I love that he stands up for what he believes in and that he always makes me feel like I am the most important person in his life. Whenever I am about to make an important decision, I always think about the impact it will have on both of us–and not simply on myself. And though we may both joke about our celebrity “free cards”, we both know we only want each other.

Our free cards
3. We talk it out
There are those moments when we misunderstand one another or we get into huge arguments. I won’t even pretend that we never fight. We do, just like everyone else. It took us a few years to figure out a good way to come back from those horrible moments. And now we talk it out. Sometimes I rant and he just waits patiently (he is a very patient man). Sometimes I have to wait a long time for him to verbalize what is bothering him–he’s Swedish, they don’t like confrontations or arguments, so this is kind of new for him. But we try to talk everything out and we NEVER go to bed angry at one another.

anigif_enhanced-9260-1396299187-22 talk
4. We make each other laugh
The Swede is a consummate goofball and I absolutely adore that about him. Though he may look stern and serious (Swedes have mastered this look–just watch any Swedish film: Max von Sydow, Stellan Skarsgård…even Alexander Skarsgård–they’ve all mastered that stern look), he will say and do things just to catch my off guard and set me off into a fit of giggles. And I do the same for him. We spend a lot of time laughing. Lately, we keep making each other laugh with our impression of the now iconic Peter Dinklage SNL skit, Space Pants. Yup, we never get enough of Space Pants.

5. Love above all else
At the end of the day, it’s all about love. I know that I love him, and he loves me. And I can’t imagine sharing my life with anyone else.

1

The Best Medicine

The Best Medicine

Lifeis better
In honor of National Humor Month, we’re talking laughter.
smile
 
So. True. 
And it really is the best medicine:
 
bubbles
 
Laughter releases bunches of feel-good hormones. Research finds that humor can help you cope better with pain, enhance your immune system, reduce stress, even help you live longer. So you should, you know, do it a lot. 😀 
 
And how’s this for an “aww” moment:
makeherfall
 
I’m lucky that I’m married to a man with a wonderful sense of humor who makes me laugh every single day. But the best feeling is when I make him laugh. 
In books, movies, and real life, I always fall for the funny guy. And in friendships, I’m lucky to have several shades of humor in several different people.
wasted
 
Which leads me to one more quote:
favthings
 
So there you have it. Celebrate the folks who bring laughter into your life. 
 
And if you need more laughs, check out National Humor Month’s official website: http://www.humormonth.com/
 
 
Wishing you a day filled with belly laughs and giggles,
Susan-Sig
Connected at the hip.

Connected at the hip.

I got an email the other day from my pedometer.

Fitbit email
Okay, the thing hangs on my belt, and came with a wireless USB connector that I plugged into my computer. Now every time I get anywhere near my computer, important data streams from my hip down the internet tubes. Important data that when extensively analyzed reports back to me that I sit at my computer way too much and don’t walk enough.

My Zip

My Zip

Hey, I walk all the way to the kitchen for cookies. That should count for something.

Anyway, my relationship with my Fitbit Zip has been uncomplicated so far. It tells me to walk more, and I ignore it. A pretty good relationship, right?

But now things are getting complicated. The thing has become . . . needy.

Or has it?

Is it just being sly?

In order to get it new batteries, I need to get up and go to the store. I’d need to walk, which is what it’s been wanting all along.

So I ask myself: What happens if I don’t get it batteries?

Will our relationship die? Can’t things just go on just the way they were?

If I get it batteries, will it demand something else?

Long walks on the beach? Heaven forbid, a gym membership?

I need to think. I need a cookie. But I’d have to get up and walk to the kitchen.

I think it’s winning.

Steve

And the winner is…

And the winner is…

Well, it’s that time of year. The stars align, shining brightly as we gaze upon them in awe. No, I’m not talking about celestial stars. I’m talking about the stars here on earth.

This is the time of year when just about every segment of the entertainment industry pats itself on the back and hands out awards for being…well…the biggest stars.

Oscars. BAFTAs. SAGs, Grammys, Golden Globes…the list seems endless. It makes you wish you’d invested in a company that makes red carpets. Ever wonder what it’s like to attend one of this glitzy events? Well, let me enlighten you. [Read more…]