Beauty In The Everyday


Monogrammed Handkerchief

Our modern world is filled with fast and disposable conveniences. From tissues, paper towels, and even one use dental floss picks.  While on the go or dealing with children these disposable items definitely have their value, yet I sometimes think the utilitarian qualities of these conveniences has taken some of the beauty of the everyday.

Take for example the lovely linen handkerchief I have shared here with its monogram and delicate design. Almost too pretty to consider using, right? Well, it may not be what I would want to soil while fighting a cold, but I would definitely use it for other everyday tasks and then launder it like a pro. It may seem like a simple thing, but by choosing to use this hanky I am saving the lives of trees. I’m also soothed by it’s beauty. This was not made by a machine, but by the loving hands of a family member. Pulling this out of my handbag reminds me of that connection. It brings a smile to my face. I can say with certainty that a paper towel or tissue has never done that.

I have long made a habit of packing a cloth napkin and real silverware in my lunch box each day. Yes, that is a sustainable, good for the world practice and I am glad of that, but that was not my motivation to begin that practice. I do it to add a bit of home and care into my workday. I enjoy the patterns and colors on the cloth napkins and I find they remind me to savor my lunch and pause in my day to appreciate the moment. the extra items in the laundry are a small price to pay.

If you have beautiful things, things that speak to you and have the power to brighten your day, I say use them. Not just for special occasions, but for the daily occasion of living. Adding beauty into the everyday takes very little effort with the big payoff of refreshing your soul as you move through our fast paced, high tech and disposable world.

I would like to think here in the South we are a bit better at practicing this, but even here modern life takes its toll. If we are mindful and take care to use beautiful items in our everyday we can insulate ourselves from the effects.

I dare you to serve Tuesday night dinner on the good china or treat yourself to a pleasing insulated mug to pour your work coffee into and ditch the throwaway cups. Be mindful of the beauty in everyday life.

Recapture Your Sandcastle Days

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Me on the beach in Italy circa 1971?



Another summer is upon us and I for one can hardly wait!  I am blessed to live by the beach, so I can go anytime, but there is something about a weekday in the Summer that seems so indulgent. Those of you who read this blog regularly know that besides being a writer I am a first grade teacher and frankly at this point in the year, I am beyond exhausted. Fortunately Summer gives me time to recoup, so I can burn the candle at both ends for the next school year.  I do work in the summer, but part-time. My writing, well that seems to be a three-hundred-sixty-five, twenty-four hour a-day kind of job (and I love every minute of it!).

The beach is the best place for me to refill my tank. I love going out on a Tuesday morning, with my chair, a great book and plenty of refreshments. The crowds are less, along with the traffic and I get the sensation I got away with something.

In my book The Eyes Have It, my main character Lizzie also turns to the beach to find solace and strength. She also has the advantage of a dock looking out to the water and marsh, another spot for thinking and healing (An advantage of living a fictitious life!).

In Chapter Four, she spends some time on the beach at the Isle of Palms, just trying to make sense of what has been happening in her life and find her bearings. I took this opportunity to express my philosophy on the beach as her observation as she walked along and I offer it here as a quote from my pages. “All looked content with life, that was the balm the beach gave, it didn’t matter what life was like off the sand, on the sand you were free, transported back to sandcastle and Popsicle days, the endorphins from the sun and the soothing lullaby of the waves.”

I have so many childhood memories of the beach. The picture up above is me as a preschooler, soaking up the beach in Italy. I was lucky enough to spend first through third grade living in Hawaii, (My daddy was military) and I still dream of a place called Bellow’s Beach on Oahu as my ideal beach vacation. Think wood floor cabins with the trade winds blowing through, slamming screen doors taking you steps away to the beach.

I plan to indulge in the beach at least once a week this summer and I encourage you to seek it out or at least a water view of some sort. See if you can sooth your soul. I might even enjoy a popsicle!

The Bling Is The Thing


The finishing touches

Yes, I am still waxing philosophical about my front door and its make-over. When I finally made a color decision and analyzed the meaning behind it, I was so relieved I did not realize I had not quite finished the task.  After all every southern girl worth her salt knows rule 11 states: accessories make the outfit.

Okay, I made that bit up, I am not sure there is a written and numbered rule book for southern girls, but I am sure if there was one, at least one of the rules would address the importance of accessories.  The art of layering jewelry, scarves and just the right shoes or boots take an outfit from presentable to personal style.  At home, the artwork, pillows, and accent lamps do the same.  Those are the items that say this is home and this is who lives here.

So needless to say, I realized quickly my older dark planters that went well with my basic black door, did nothing for my new blue door.  So shopping I went.  Can I just say that finding lime green planters the first weekend in January was a daunting task and took ten stores to find. (I have a little beef with this, as here in the coastal south, planters are maintained year round) I had a vision and I was not willing to settle.  I also envisioned silver as an accent and I could not find a silver A anywhere. I found gold, tin, red, black even hot pink, undaunted I selected a resin tan one and with the aid of some silver spray paint, the vision was complete.

So if I am true to my theme in the past two blog entries; decisions on color are really about taking chances and giving yourself permission to grow and change, then accessories are more than planters and adorable silver birds.  So here goes my take on the accessories.

What we fill up our lives with and the attitude we project out into the world are our philosophical accessories.  Our best accessories are our smiles and the acts of kindness we offer to others.  The bling in our lives are the things we do that honor our authentic selves and leave the world a little better than we found it. It is amazing that when you do these things, people around you will pick up on the inner glow it creates and the joy becomes contagious.  So in this year of renewal I am challenging myself to do something each day that adds some sparkle into the lives of the folks around me.  After all…the bling is the thing.

Doors & Decisions: The Outcome


Shiny and New

So, if you read my last blog entry: Doors and Decisions, I imagine you are saying “Whoa Nellie, where did that color come from?” Particularly since I left you with a red and four shades of green as finalists.

I had given myself 48 hours to make a decision and I am happy to report I beat the deadline, making it in 36 hours. So how did the door end up blue , Sherwin Williams – Aquarium to be specific?  Well I took my original finalists to Facebook where I knew I would get great feedback from a large group of southern women with awesome style that I am blessed to call friends. Then it occurred to me to google gray houses and door colors.

I know…modern magic…you can find anything with a key word and the swipe of a finger.  Loads of images popped up and the blue with the gray struck my fancy. It was important to me to do something a bit different. I was after a lightening and brightening effect after ten years with a black door. A renewal for the house if you will as we begin 2016.

This color spoke to me of the South Carolina coast. A modern, fresh and bright complement to the traditional gray house with the white trim. So here we are with a freshly painted door to start the new year. It turns out the process to arriving at the color decision, really wasn’t about color at all.

For one thing, it is just paint, easily changed. I came to realize that life is actually the same way. If you don’t like the direction your life is heading, change course.  Very few decisions in this life can’t be reversed or redirected. I dare you as we start this new year to renew yourself with something big or small.  It can be something symbolic like a door color or life altering like a career change. This door color decision was really about being open to trying something new.

I learned a bit of how I am growing as an evolving human and what I hope for in this coming year. That is another life revelation from this process, we never stop growing and changing as long as we stayed tuned in. The process in 2015 to live in joy has led me to this point of renewal for 2016.  I want to be fresh in my ideas and energy moving forward.  I want to take more risks. I want to sparkle and shine with joy and zest for this precious life.  I want to continue to connect my beloved South Carolina Lowcountry and the beautiful souls of the southern women I call friends to my writing.

So here’s to 2016, filled with opportunity and possibility (laundry room is looking a bit bland…orange…tangerine?) Make it a time to renew and refresh.  Make 2016 about making the best version of you yet!