After temperatures in the mid twenties yesterday we are warming up. It's very windy but sunny, and in the forties. Love it. I may get some extra exercise and rake up some of the sticks and dead leaves this afternoon. Or not. I'm really not good at prioritizing. I look around now and I see breakfast dishes in the sink, a basket of laundry ready to go downstairs and a bathroom that needs a good scouring. Yet I'd just love to curl up in a comfy chair, go through the stack of magazines that are piling up or finish one of the 3 books I've started.
I stopped at Trader Joe last week when I was out in the burbs. The flowers are definitely an attraction to reel people in. I bought these tulips as well as some yellow carnations. I also bought some of their delicious salads and spreads such as the Taboule, tapenade, and babeleh. These are great alone, spread on crackers or added to a green or pasta salad.
I've been making a lot more salads lately. I Pin a great many if you want to have a look at my Pinterest board. The days of chopping up lettuce, adding some cucumber and tomato, and dousing the whole bowl with Italian dressing are over. The more interesting, the better. And they're not just for summer any more. My doctor would like to see me eat less animal protein and since I keep my carbs way down, I can't have much pasta, rice, grains or beans. The truth is, if I ever had a cheat day I wouldn't eat cookies or ice cream, chips or even bread, as Oprah craves. I'd have a big 'ol bowl of rice and beans. The other day Emily and I were heading out for some retail therapy and I offered to bring us a salad for lunch before. It was simply a huge bowl of Romaine lettuce, finely chopped red pepper, onion, cucumbers, some shredded cheese, a small handful of chickpeas and some black beans. I made a light dressing of balsamic vinegar, honey and olive oil. As we ate (and she loved it), I was thinking of other beans that would have been nice, maybe some chopped olives or a scoop of quinoa. The great thing was we had two servings from this huge bowl and shopped for almost 4 hours. Usually we are tired and hungry afterward but not this time. It was healthy and full of protein.
If you are interested in some meatless recipes, I highly recommend the book River Cottage Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. He's a British writer and broadcaster and has written several cookbooks including River Cottage Meat and River Cottage Fish. I've had the book open on my counter for the past two weeks. I peruse the recipes, jot down the fresh items I need for a few and add them to my grocery list. Very simple. I've also taken to food shopping once or twice a week so the veggies are fresh. Not everyone has the time but it sure beats canned or frozen. I love the photography in this book, too. The late great Charlie Trotter wrote in my copy of his book when I had the good fortune to meet him, "Food is love." I also think food is art. :)
This is the first weekend in awhile that we haven't been to the lake. We've done so much work up there and it was balanced out with a lot of reading and relaxing. Friday I just wanted to stay home, not have the two hour drive there and back and maybe see the kids. We did get together at a restaurant about 3 blocks away. It was fun; we saw some friends and neighbors as well. Life is slow and somewhat quiet at the lake (with the exception of summer with all of the water toys buzzing around the water and tons of people walking, biking, running, rollerskating...). The Husband had missed his Sunday morning breakfasts with Elsie. These two have really bonded. She just adores him and of course, he loves that attention! I've also had the time to get caught up on some things around the house. Can you believe I'm still finding Christmas decorations? In a hallway I happened to notice my sign that says, "Happy Spring". I guess it can just stay there now.
The sunsets have been so pretty without the leaves of the trees to obscure the sky. This is actually facing southeast but I love the reflection on the bay. Last weekend the weather was in the 60's and I sat outside with the dogs while The Husband split wood for kindling. A neighbor was burning leaves; it felt like autumn. I'm glad it's not. I'm excited to get back to my gardens and sit on a nice clean beach.
I've been hesitant in giving you a tour of the lakehouse without the decor completely finished. Another shot of the furniture we had reupholstered. It's hard to tell but the settee has little diamonds of blue that pick up colors from the sofa and loveseat. I had a round jute area rug here before but the sun seems to have yellowed it. I would think if anything it would fade but it didn't. I have been looking online at every style and shade of area rugs I can and I get so discouraged. I'm so picky. And there is not one speck of artwork on the walls yet. I have a ton to sell at the yard sale in June that I simply have no desire to hang again. There was a time that I hung pieces just to fill the space. Now I'm thinking quite a bit before I put a hole in the wall. The walls are expansive so I need large pieces or groupings. I get really insecure doing that. You can rearrange furniture, add, edit or move around small pieces and table toppings, but rugs, window treatments, artwork or anything that means making a hole in the wall...well that's major
Not much to do in this area...the coffee table is a mess of books and magazines. The left side of the sofa is where I park in the morning with my coffee or at night with a fire going, maybe sipping wine and reading with that cozy quilt around me. I mentioned that the carpenters covered over the floor outlet where we used to plug in a lamp on this small table. I took the advice of the ladies on Instagram to use a lantern with a candle on this table. I found a set of three at a shop in town, this one being the largest. Looking at it from this view makes me think I should go down a size. Gee...looking at these pics make me feel a little homesick for the lake and wish we were there!
Back at the ranch, I continue to declutter. This counter is always an eyesore (and this is the after!). It's across the room from the stove and sink so I really don't use it a ton. Some would put the mixer and food processor away as well as the flour and sugar but I want it at the ready. I think the reason I don't use my slow cooker much is because its buried in a cabinet and it's heavy! See the empty cookie jar? That's why I have the mixer out. Time to get moving.
How do we keep a nice balance between having a clean, organized home/closet/car...fill in the blanks if you wish, and time for relaxing and living in the moment? It's hard for me to kick back if I have stuff to get done. And there's always stuff. So, my question is...do you have a designated day for cleaning house or do you do it as needed, a little here and a little there? There was a time when I had to have everything perfect, as if my mother was going to walk in unannounced with a white glove. In fact I prided myself on being the Queen of Clean. And then I realized how tired I was. And I noticed my energy level for doing much else after I broke my bum picking up, organizing and disinfecting was nil. Patterns change and sometimes I wonder if I'm being neglectful or just breaking free of unrealistic standards I set up. Just my thoughts on a Sunday afternoon, still looking at breakfast dishes while I ponder what to make for dinner.
I did a pretty good job simplifying the bedroom. I recently bought this comforter from West Elm for the bed in the master bedroom at the lake. Then I found another at Target that suited our room much better. Loving this one so much I kept it for the bedroom here in the city. The woven color is gray but I saw that you could get the comforter with red or blue accents. The throw at the end is from Pottery Barn and a good five years old. Abby even had it at her apartment for a while. On really cold nights I layer it over the comforter which is super soft but not so thick. Hello from Layla! She turned 10 last week. Like me, she needs to walk off a few pounds. ;-D
So here's a little round up without all the unnecessary words:
From Blondie's Medical Journal: An infection going on three months in my head and chest due to zero immunity. Hoping the new meds are approved in March. I stopped bothering to take OTC meds, so I just sleep as much as possible. Probably the reason I'm agonizing over housework.
From Blondie's Library: Just finished Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (quite good), and starting Since She Went Away, a thriller that I found at Target. "...a chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past that refuses to die..." I have the feeling this will be a page turner.
From Blondie's Guide to The Laziest Form of Entertainment: Never disappointed by Blindspot, Timeless and This Is Us, the latter making me very down so I may stop watching. Hmmmm...
From Blondie's Guide to Even More Lazy Forms of Entertainment: Tried to start the new HBO series based on the book by Liann Moriarity, Big Little Lies. Got further in the book, as in two chapters. Interesting characters but boring. A shame because these are really good actors. A better choice for a series would have been her book, The Husband's Secret. Loved that. Started an excellent series on HBO called Imposters. OMGoodness; mystery, drama, action, humor, sexiness and great acting. Great storyline, too. Just a few episodes in, you can catch up if you have On Demand. I'm anxious for Tuesday nights!
From Blondies Love Of Music Meant For the Younger Crowd: I actually love driving, the farther the better, just to crank up that car radio. So loving Mercy by Shawn Mendes. The live performance from SNL is insane. I'm also belting out the words along with Rihanna to Love on the Brain, and dreaming with the Chainsmokers doing Paris. Finally, loving the new(ish) singles out by The Weeknd, Starboy, and Bruno Mars, 24K Magic.
Okay, I may have lost most of you on this last one.
I'll be back soon. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and the start of a brand new week!