Gave Up Sugar

Three and a half weeks ago, I started cutting out sugar. I am happy to say I have lost 7 pounds already!
I was having five or six cups of tea over the course of the day, and I put one teaspoon in each cup. When I realized that is 24 grams of sugar on that alone, it was an eye opener. My flavored Greek yogurt was 19 grams and my instant oatmeal had 12 grams. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams a day!!Yikes.
So now I drink 2-3 liters of water a day and have switched to dessert teas that have no added sugar or sugar substitutes. I think it tricks me into thinking I’m having something sweet
The intense sugar cravings have stopped. Here are some of my favorite teas!


Oh Fickle Me!

You know how I put the new Tiffany jeweled light in the kitchen and a plain one over the sink so it would not compete with the Tiffany style?
Well-my inner glitz queen has been yelling at me since I did that! She said I should have listened to her, and I should have gone with the glitz. So yesterday I ordered two new lights!! I will move the Tiffany into my son’s room since it feels more masculine and dark to me, and put the new ones in the kitchen! Then all the lights in my house will be new!!
Here is the one for the kitchen. It has crystals on it, but not hanging down, so it’s understated glitz! The crystals are inside each diamond of the lattice.
Now I’m happy!
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And here is the one for over the sink. This one is smaller-8 or 9 inches in diameter. But it screams glitz so I can get my fix!
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Kitchen Lights

I finally found a light for the kitchen! It is a 17 inch Tiffany style light with beautiful jewel tones. I am hoping the blue in the light will go well with the blue granite countertops.
After buying that, I searched for an over the sink light. It was really hard to find a light that wouldn’t clash with the Tiffany style. It also had to be smaller than 10 inches and have rubbed oil bronze trim. After much searching I found a basic ceiling light that should be o.k.
I will let the Tiffany light be the star of the room!
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The over the sink light-
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Mixing Lighting Styles

After nearly fourteen years in our “new” house, I have finally started replacing all the cheap builder fixtures. All three bathrooms have modern lights that replaced the Las Vegas/Hollywood strip of balls!
As you can see from my last post, I replaced the new chandelier in our bedroom with a sparkly chandelier and moved the other one to the living room. The living room has two light fixtures. Both were the standard “boob” lights in gold tone. So my next purchase was a light to replace the lone boob light on the other side of the living room. Part of me wanted to get another chandelier just like the one I just put up. I am usually obsessed with symmetry, so it felt strange to think of putting a totally different fixture opposite that one. My sister pointed out that two chandeliers would overwhelm the room and make it look smaller. So after searching through thousands of pictures on Overstock, Wayfair, Amazon,…I found one that I kept noticing every time I looked. I took that as a sign that it was the one! It’s completely different and flush to the ceiling, but I love the colored glass in it. I guess both lights would be considered contemporary. Here is the new light.

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Now I am on a quest to replace the hideous globe over the kitchen sink and the ugly three-spotlight monstrosity currently on the kitchen ceiling. I have to confess to buying that one myself, so I have no defense. I am trying to decide if it’s o.k. to glitz up the kitchen with silver and crystal fixtures. The jury is still out on that one.
In the meantime, my sister offered me a lovely vintage fixture with real crystal drops. I couldn’t say no. It’s pale green so it will either go in a bedroom, or maybe over the dining table.
I have decided it really is o.k. to have a variety of styles in the house. If we ever sell, the new owners can rip them all out and put their own in!


Chandeliers in the Bedroom

I never knew that people put chandeliers in their bedrooms. I knew they were in dining rooms and I have seen them in kitchens and bathrooms, but it just didn’t occur to me to put one in the bedroom. Now that I am doing a makeover in the bedroom, I fell in love with the idea of replacing my old light with a chandelier.
I found a couple I really liked, or should I say I found one I really liked, and one I loved. Here is the one I liked.
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I asked people for their opinions about which one to choose, and since everybody has an opinion, everybody weighed in. They all told me they thought the one I loved was a little glitzy, so I listened to them and got the slightly more conservative one. My brother in law installed it for me, and I thought I would move on to another aspect of the bedroom makeover.
Every day for a week I looked at it. Ho hum. It was nice. But I didn’t want nice. I wanted vavoom! My sister said I have a Cinderella side, and it was yearning to come out! So I ordered the one I loved, and now I am excited to see it installed!
Bibbidi bobbidi boo! Here is the Cinderella chandelier!
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In Search of the Perfect Gray Paint

I have been looking at gray paint everywhere. I have been to Home Depot several times, Sherwin Williams store, Benjamin Moore store, and have spent lots of time on Pinterest and Google images.
What I know for sure is that you cannot trust what you see on your computer screen to be accurate. I installed the Home Depot Project Color app on my phone so I could use the camera and look at colors in the actual lighting conditions, and that is pretty helpful.
I brought home many color chips and put them up in various areas of the bedroom. I know I don’t like any grays that have a taupe or beige undertone. Most of the ones I like seem to have a blue undertone. But I don’t want a blue room!
I am trying to find a color that will harmonize withe the Behr “Tidewater” paint in the adjoining bathroom.
I call this “26 Shades of Gray”!


I am beginning to wonder if I really want gray at all! I have fallen in love with two Sherwin Williams colors- “Sea Salt” and “Rainwashed”.
I guess I will have to get some actual paint samples and see how they look painted on the wall!


Another Bathroom Makeover

Because I loved the way the downstairs bathroom came out, I did the master bathroom over in the same color. I just love Behr “Tidewater”!! It is such a calming color. It’s a cross between a Tiffany Blue and a Spa Blue. I used the eggshell finish.
My favorite part of this makeover is the lighting! The lights are the exact color of the paint, and when they are on, you can see the swirl of colors in them! I got them online at Destination Lighting. The vanity was from Lowe’s. The faucets are Pfister.
Click on the picture below to see before and after!

Oh as a postscript- I got a sample jar of the “Tidewater” to touch up a place above the light fixture. It wasn’t the same color when I painted it! The samples only come in flat or semi gloss finish, and I had used eggshell. That apparently changed the color. So I got creative and made a frame to go around the outlet! I covered cardboard with fabric and voila!


Behr “Tidewater” Paint in Bathroom Makeover

We moved into our new house almost fourteen years ago and have really not done much to the inside since. Aside from replacing the old Formica with granite in the kitchen and painting the backsplash, the other rooms were all bland, off white with “builder’s special” fixtures.
The first room I started to make over was the downstairs half bath. I could no longer stand the strip of ball lights above the vanity.
Here is the before picture:

I painted the room with Behr “Tidewater”. I replaced the vanity with one from Lowe’s and changed the mirror. I put in new lighting.
I am really happy with the result!

Here is the mirror and new lights.

Here is the vanity and mirror.


Downton Abbey Season Six

I know I came late to the party, having binge-watched all five seasons in a week before season six started. I loved every minute of it. That being said, if I had started watching Downton on season six, I would wonder what all the hype was about.
Episode six and they are still spending so much time on the hospital takeover. I know it is socially relevant to the times, but I don’t think that storyline needed to drag on for six episodes.
The farm story about who would get the tenancy of the farm was also a snore! Daisy is turning into a harridan! She is a classic example of someone who says- “I don’t want him, but I don’t want anyone else to have him.” Jeez. Poor Mrs. Patmore deserves a little happiness!
Carson is so testy these days. I don’t think marriage agrees with him! He is so set in his ways. Mrs. Hughes doesn’t deserve his constant comparisons to Mrs. Patmore’s cooking. For crying out loud, Mrs. Hughes spent her life as a housekeeper, not a cook!
I actually feel sorry for Barrows this season. The humanity he shows towards the children is sweet, and his offer to help Andy learn to read was touching. But since no good deed goes unpunished, he is paying the price for that. I understand he is like the boy who cried wolf. He was so mean to people for so long that now no one can see that he really is trying to do the right thing. It must have been intolerable to be a gay man in that society.
I am glad to see Edith happy this season. She deserves it. How she has put up with Mary’s sniping for so long is beyond me.
I loved Anna and Bates in all the other seasons, but this season they seem like an afterthought. I thought we would learn more about the mysterious Bates, but maybe not.
And then there is Mary. I never warmed up to her in any season, but she is really unlikeable in this one. She is prickly and condescending. I really don’t see why all these men go after her except for her money and status.
The best thing that could happen to Mary is for her to hook up with Tom. She is the most human when she is around him. But then again-I like Tom, so I wouldn’t wish her on him!
I will keep watching, especially to see Lady Violet who never disappoints!


Cathedral Cookies


I like to make these at Christmas because they remind me of a stained glass windows. They are so easy to make! Melt a stick of butter. Add a bag of chocolate chips. (I used bittersweet, but you can use semi-sweet or milk. I just think the marshmallows are so sweet that it tones it down a little if you use bittersweet.)Add a cup of chopped walnuts. Let it cool a little and add a bag of colored mini marshmallows. They have to be the colored ones if you want the stained glass effect. Roll the mixture into two logs on wax paper and chill. Slice into cookies. They really are more candy than cookie!
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Homemade Granola

I have been making granola after seeing a chef on t.v. make it. I never knew it was so easy! I like how I can customize it by using different kinds of nuts and fruit. I have used almonds and dried apricots, but this latest version has dried cranberries.


Why a Blog?

I had a blog for a specific purpose. I was trying to connect with other teachers and share ideas. I was showcasing a few teacher products I sold online. Then I retired and found I had no desire to keep up with the latest trends in education!
The blog was paid for until 2017, so I thought why not write something? I suddenly found it very freeing to be able to write about whatever I wanted. I no longer have to worry if it’s educationally appropriate or appealing. I can talk about beauty products or food or photography. I can express an opinion without worrying about what other teachers might think.
I never know what my posts will be about until something strikes me as funny or interesting or delicious!
I have had to deal with some devastating medical issues with my husband in the past few years, but I haven’t been able to share those feelings just yet on my blog. I have certainly written plenty on a couple teacher message boards, and God knows I found so much support and caring from total strangers there. But that was written with anonymity, so it was easier to share my doubts and fears and despair.
I also don’t want my blog to become a site for caregivers to congregate. Because although I know there is a huge need for that, I want to be able to escape on this blog.
Maybe nobody even reads what I write. But that’s o.k., too.


Thank You Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa

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I would like to thank Ina Garten for my new obsession. I am not a coffee drinker. But after watching her add this delicious brand of Dulce de Leche to coffee and topping it off with whipped cream, I am in love!
How did I not know this caramel existed? I would choose caramel over chocolate any day! I usually buy brands like Hershey or Smuckers for caramel, and they are pretty bland. This is the real deal:)
Add a healthy dollop to your coffee and watch it turn a beautiful tan color. It is sweet and delicious! What a nice treat on a cold day!


Praying for Paris

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As Facebook turns into a sea of blue, white and red in solidarity for Paris, I can’t help but remember when I visited there for the first time. It was thirty years ago, and life was much simpler and civil back then. Not only was travel safe, it was enjoyable. You could look forward to a hot meal served on china with real metal utensils! Warm towels were served to refresh you after a long transatlantic flight. You never heard of passengers having to restrain other unruly passengers.
But I digress.. Paris was a place I and always wanted to see. I had studied French for four years in high school , and another year in college. I couldn’t wait to try it out on unsuspecting Parisians! I loved seeing the Louvre and the Musee D’Orsay. I loved the warm croissants. I didn’t care for all the cigarette smoking, but that was years ago when people didn’t think it was as bad as it is.
My fellow travel agent Joyce and I crammed as much as we could into that trip. We got more lost than I have ever been in my life on Le Metro!
All these years later I still have fond memories.
But now the world is a different place. I’m sure Paris is still as beautiful, but after the attacks in January and now last night’s attacks, it is somewhere I wouldn’t be comfortable visiting. I hate that the age of innocence ended with 9/11. I hate that there is a shadow over us all. I pray that the people of Paris recover from this horrendous attack.


Lady Emily Series

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First let me say that I wanted to love this book as much as I love all the other Lady Emily books. It is one of my favorite series of novels by Tasha Alexander. I was hooked by her first book, and have never been disappointed in any of her subsequent novels in the series. But this book fell a little short of expectation. I found it off-putting to have another character tell her point of view in so many of the chapters.
There was not enough of her most excellent husband Colin in this story! Lady Emily and Colin work together to solve mysteries in all the other books, but in this one that didn’t happen. I found the mystery predictable from the start.
It will not deter me from reading her next book, because I’m hoping this was just a slight departure from the usual for her.
She is an excellent writer.


My New Obsession

I scored a deal at Home Goods on an enamel cast iron Dutch Oven. Instead of paying over a hundred dollars for Le Creuset, I found a brand called Baumelu on clearance. It normally sells for ninety dollars, but I got it for thirty-five dollars!!


I couldn’t wait to try it out. I cut up carrots, Yukon Gold potatoes, celery and put them in with a roaster chicken. I added a little salt, pepper, thyme and chicken stock, and baked it for three hours at 350 degrees. It came out so moist the chicken fell off the bone! The vegetables were delicious! So easy to make and the pot cleaned up easily.


A Must Read!

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This book is the first in a new series by Deanna Raybourn. Her other series featuring Lady Julia, was one of my favorite book series ever!! I was sad when I heard that there would be no more Lady Julia books, but fortunately Deanna has come out with a new heroine to love!
Veronica Speedwell is even more likable and quirky than Lady Julia. Her writing is smart and funny.
The author has set the stage for many more novels to come in this series. Do not hesitate to read this book! And I envy you if you haven’t read all her other books, because you have a lot of good reading ahead of you!! #deannaraybourn


My New Favorite Yogurt

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I have tried every yogurt out there. This new one from Stonyfield is great! It has three layers of cream, yogurt and fruit. It’s certainly not low calorie- which is probably why it tastes so good! It is organic and comes in about six flavors.
I know most people probably mix the fruit at the bottom through the yogurt before eating it, but I like to leave it the way it comes. I think if I were to tip it over and let the fruit drip down the yogurt and cream, it would be like a custard flan dessert!


I just changed my blog from a teacher blog to a personal blog. Now I will be able to share all kinds of things I couldn’t before. I will post photos, book reviews, cooking ideas and beauty product reviews. I am also a t.v. addict, so I will share about my favorite t.v. shows.