Tag Archives: shopsmall

My Favorite Things (Today)

I could hardly believe it when I checked Mama Kat’s writing prompts this week and found a topic I’d already entered as a title during a sleepless night mind-mapping section. So here are my current favorite things, in no particular order. I have affiliate links with a couple of them, but certainly not all. Take this one, for instance:


Non-slip tape. This is awesome! I bought the two-inch-wide clear tape, and my husband put it on the stairs down from the pantry to the back door. Our chocolate lab is thirteen and, um. . . more full-figured than she should be at her age. So the stairs were becoming a problem. After a few days of getting used to the tape she now hops up and down the steps like a pup! Thankfully, we had some left over. It came in handy when I slipped on our old bathmat and tumbled out of the shower. A wet, naked fifty-year-old woman wrapped like a burrito in a shower curtain is not pretty. Thankfully, my husband was home to unwrap me and help me get dried and into bed, where I stayed for forty-eight hours icing my hip and lower back. Now there’s tape on the bottom of the tub, too.


Tiffany Reisz books. She’s been writing like crazy lately, which makes me incredibly happy. The Red is her latest, and it was simply perfect. It’s a book from within her books – a book her main character in the Original Sinners series wrote. So the whole thing is like an inside joke. Her newest, Michael’s Wings, comes out today! I can’t wait for my local bookstore to order it for me, so I’ll download it on Kindle and order it from Carmichael’s so I’ll have a copy for her to sign 🙂 She’ll be in Kentucky later this month, and I hope to get a chance to see her!


Accupressure Pillow. The points on this thing are serious sharp to the touch, but I’ve slept more than one night with it under my neck or lower back and felt much less stiff than usual in the morning. And yes, they do make them in other colors. But when I have the option I always choose purple. I just noticed these are out of stock now on Zulily, but similar items are available on Amazon as well as most yoga supply shops. If there’s a locally-owned yoga shop near you this would be a great item to buy from a local business. I always #shopsmall when I can!


Kiss imPRESS Nails. I swear I wouldn’t have even looked at this ad except for Christian Siriano. Yes, the youngest winner of Project Runway, the man who made the term “fierce” popular, and my second-favorite Project Runway competitor. My FAVE is Chris March, who was in the finals competing with Christian. He was snubbed because of his use of human hair in his collection on skirts and lapels. Seriously, it was gorgeous, and there wasn’t a celebrity there who didn’t have human hair extensions glued, clipped, or sewn into their scalp. Completely hypocritical. Anyway, the nails don’t require glue, and can be removed easily. In other words, even someone with a tremor like mine can have a nice manicure for about five bucks without apologizing to the nail tech fifty times. I haven’t bought them yet, but it will be happening soon!


Sombra warming pain relief cream. Sorry to add yet another pain-relief item to this list, but you’d be surprised how many people on your Christmas gift list this year can use them. People who are doing hard physical work don’t have the time or energy to search out anything past Advil and a heating pad. It’s the people like me who pushed too hard for too long that have the answers. This is great because it doesn’t go on greasy, it smells like oranges, and it works for HOURS.

Our Little, Late, But Very Thankful Thanksgiving

This year it was just the three of us. Michael and John both had to work, and my leaf mold allergies hit a new all-time high. I couldn’t breathe without panting like a dog (so attractive), couldn’t talk, and could only stand for a few minutes before needing to be horizontal again. Not the recipe for a good Thanksgiving! But I’d done enough prep and planning and Michael’s a fabulous enough cook that it all came out great. Most importantly, we were all relaxed and happy, and spent the meal talking about everything we were thankful for. Here’s the tablescape:

This was our first holiday meal here with my grandmother’s kitchen table. It brought back many happy memories, and I couldn’t bear to cover it with a cloth. I love that it shows its age! As usual I used stuff from the yard for decorations: leaves and ornamental grasses this year, since everything else had been hit by a recent frost or drowned by the day’s rain. But I think it perks up our old carved wooden turkey quite well!

The napkins were something a little special, and I’d enjoy doing it every year if we can. I grabbed three cloth napkins at the Dollar Tree and I had a gold Sharpie paint pen left over from another project, so we each wrote out a few things we were thankful for a few days ago and I tucked them into the grapevine napkin holders and put them at the appropriate places. Wouldn’t it be fun to do a different color napkin each year and once there were enough stitch them into a quilt? With the size Thanksgivings I used to host that would be a quilt a year! This is a corner of mine.


I forgot to take a “pretty plate” picture before we started eating, but Michael’s still looked good about ten minutes into the meal!


The most-loved dish (as always) was . . . the Jell-O salad! Weird, right? But Michael and John both eat it by the bowlful, so even after doubling the recipe we only had about one-third of it left when it was time to eat. I found out later they’d both had big midnight snacks the night before – LOL!


The shunned dish was no surprise, either. It was my new dish for the year: roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes with pecans and cranberries. I loved it, and will be eating my fill of leftovers. The guys distrust colorful vegetables, and I’m pushing them out of their comport zone if I try something more exotic than peas or carrots. So of course the only picture I have of them is in their leftovers container 🙁


Normally we have Thanksgiving around lunchtime, but since we ate so late this year we had a chance to use candles both on the table and in the sconces flanking the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen. They came out of the house Michael grew up in, and are no longer wired for electricity, but are perfect for candles. With my tremor I’ve had to switch over to the two-for-a-dollar battery-operated votive candles. If you don’t look too closely you can’t see the difference, and it keeps me from setting myself and the house on fire.


OK, here was our menu:
One turkey named Matthew (I always name my birds). We baked this year instead of deep-frying, but we did brine. Scrumptious!
Sausage Stuffing (my Aunt Beverly’s recipe – no other can compare)
Jell-O Salad (you know, with cream cheese, mandarin oranges, etc)
Tossed Salad
Yeast Rolls
Turkey Gravy (I didn’t do giblet gravy for Michael this year. I swear I’ll do it for Christmas.)
Dumplings (leaf-shaped, of course!)
Cranberry Sauce
Green Bean Casserole with Chow Mein Noodles (Michael’s idea after I forgot to put french-fried onions on the Kroger list – YUM!)
Brussels Sprout and Sweet Potato Casserole
Apple Pie (Everyone had it for breakfast!)

So we will probably eat leftovers all weekend, which is how I like it!

I’ve done absolutely nothing today (Black Friday) and I’m finally starting to feel a bit better. I don’t know if it’s just the passage of time or the Mucinex Sinus Michael fought crowds to buy me yesterday, but I think I’m better. At least people can now understand me when I talk! I’m looking forward to tomorrow – Small Business Saturday! If there aren’t any stores locally that have what you’re looking for check out Etsy – a few of my go-to gift shops are on there! And don’t forget Instagram. There are shops there that literally make me drool onto my iPad, and their sales ROCK! Also you can see exactly who you are supporting with each purchase. I like that! And, of course, you can buy Nerium products from me and my husband.


I truly can’t tell you how much a little extra income would help us right now, and I’m sure many small business owners are in the same situation. So try out something new: #shopsmall. You’ll be glad you did!

I’m linking up to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, trying to get back in the habit. Stop by and visit!


In My Jammies on Black Friday!


— 1 —

I’ve done 99% of my Christmas shopping online for many years now. I don’t have the patience or the physical endurance for in-person shopping with the masses. But this year I’m hosting an 11-day Virtual Holiday Bazaar where you can buy gifts for everyone on your list from small business owners.  Your purchases, no matter how small, will help these people pay for dance classes for their kids, guy groceries to feed holiday guests, and in many cases simply help keep a roof over their heads. I like that idea much more than just being a number on a spreadsheet. It’s more in keeping with the holiday spirit!

small Bazaar Banner

— 2 —

I’m going to be participating in this vendor fair and one other, and I’m very excited about it because it gives me a chance to get the word out about an anti-aging product for the brain that you may well not have heard of. It’s called EHT, it’s sold exclusively by Nerium (yep, the company that started out as an anti-aging skin care company just a few years ago!) and they do not advertise. So getting the word out about this wonderful brain health supplement, the product of twenty years of research and development in Princeton labs, is all word-of-mouth. So I’m ready to talk!

EHT msg

— 3 —

So while I’m getting ready for a busy couple of weeks Michael’s been having a fairly interesting work week so far! He saw a large raptor in the middle of the road, obviously injured by a car, and turned around to block traffic. From its size, he suspected it was an eagle. He called me to get Raptor Rehab’s number (long-time Cub Scout parents to the rescue!) and by the time he had them on the phone had determined that it was a hawk with an injured wing. He called, but the volunteer manning the phones was the only one on duty, so he told Michael to try to get it off the side of the road. Yeah, right. We were paying attention when they talked about raptor beaks being designed to rip and tear flesh, and that an owl could pick up a small child if it wanted to. But Michael sort of “herded” it (in his city-boy way) off the road and it got up into a low tree branch, so it was safe for the time being. Good save, Michael! Then he had a delivery on a farm outside of town and had to open the gate, drive through, and then go back and close the gate before driving further. When he got back to the car there was a black lab sitting in the driver’s seat. Michael rubbed his ears and coaxed him out of the car. I was just glad he wasn’t transporting a human organ. It would be hard to explain to the transplant surgeon why a donor liver had a big bite gone and was covered in drool and fur.

— 4 —

Is anyone else watching American Horror Story: Hotel this season? I just want to say I am blown away by Lada Gaga’s acting ability. I mean obviously she has a stage presence, but that doesn’t always translate well to conveying subtle emotions. I can’t wait to see what she does next!

— 5 —

I watched “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” on Netflix this week at Michael’s insistence. It was wonderful, painful, and such a brave gift for his family to give. If you’ve never lost someone close to you to dementia this will make it real for you. I went through two hankerchiefs and a dish towel in ninety minutes. And, of course, it reinforced my dedication to spreading the word about EHT. I don’t expect everyone to try it, just like I don’t expect everyone in the world to suddenly give up smoking. But I want everyone to know it’s available – for them, their parents, and their children. If you already know how horrific dementia can be, watch this twenty-minute webinar about a product that was developed to improve brain health: neriumlife.com It runs every hour on the hour through Sunday, so please try to catch it while it’s still available!

— 6 —

We had a wonderful, quiet little Thanksgiving. Michael did nearly all the cooking, with just a little help from me and John. I managed just fine with all our traditional favorites. I love that with the gastric sleeve I can eat what I want as long as I get enough protein and my total portion size is still small. The “no snacking” part is tough, but I feel so good it’s worth resisting temptation!

— 7 —

If you’re looking for more Black Friday sales (and later sales that I am not allowed to mention yet!) check out my Jamberry FB page. I’ll be posting all the details there, and trust me, there are some bargains you won’t want to miss!Here’s a teaser pic 😉

black fri

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