Saturday, May 27, 2023

Memorial Day and Recent and Upcoming Events


Photo courtesy

Hello everyone!  It's Memorial Day Weekend and I hope that each of us pauses to remember those who have given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. Several members of my family were in different branches of service both before I was born and after and I also thank them for their service. 

I believe I have mentioned before that, when I was growing up in West Virginia, Memorial Day was always referred to as "Decoration Day."  Families, including my own, would travel to the family graveyards and decorate the graves of deceased loved ones. I wrote about this tradition in an article published in "Goldenseal" a West Virginia magazine. In the article, I wrote about how my parents, sisters and I would make a family day of having a picnic and then walking railroad tracks and climbing a steep hill to get to the family graveyard where my Mother's parents were buried. It was a long and tiring day, especially for a little girl of 3 or so as I was at the time this picture was taken. But, it was also fun in its own way and I have fond memories of these trips. I plan to go back to West Virginia to visit family during this next week and will be visiting the graveyard where several of my family members are buried. Although this will only include a car drive, and not walking on railroad tracks and climbing a steep hill, I will have flowers to take and decorate their graves, continuing the long tradition of "Decoration Day."

My Mom and me, standing on the railroad tracks. Can you believe how she dressed for a long walk and hill climb? And her pocket book! Those were the styles women wore then. And how pretty is my Mom?!

My Decoration Day article is published in this edition.

This will be my first trip back since the passing of my oldest sister and I know that this trip will be both joyful and bittersweet at the same time. Time marches on and will bring new family memories and events. And speaking of time, here are a few pics of how I have been spending my time recently. 

The Mr. and I took a drive over to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park to scout out a few hiking trails for him and I must say the scenery along the way was just gorgeous! Along the way we saw pretty waterfalls and beautiful mountains and greenery.

It had been quite a long while since I had been in the park and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the scenery. We also took time to enjoy some of the historical buildings that are in the park such as the old Palmer Methodist Chapel, an old farmhouse long empty and an old two room schoolhouse long attended by children in the area before the park was formed in 1926. 

Palmer Chapel Methodist Church

The Mr. walking in front of The Caldwell Place

Beech Grove School

I found myself becoming interested in the lives of the people who were displaced when the park opened and they had to sell their land. One family of sisters refused to leave, however, and were given permission to stay on their homestead until the last one passed away. There were 7 Walker sisters and if you are interested you can read about their fascinating life here.  Although we didn't make it to their log cabin this time, I would like to hike to see it another time. The buildings we did see were so interesting. I simply can't imagine what it would have been like to teach in the two room schoolhouse. It looks like it was right out of the set used for the "Christy" television series that was on in the 90's that documented the life of Catherine Marshall's mother when she taught in this area. The small chapel is still used as a place for people who have ties to the area to have a yearly reunion. It reminds me of an old church that my family would attend when we visited my Aunt Beulah back in West Virginia. If you ever get a chance to visit The Smokies, you will see for yourself the gorgeous scenery and amazing history of the area. I certainly enjoyed this day traveling with The Mr. to see the sights. 

So, that's it for now. As I mentioned before, I will be traveling in the next week. I hope each of you is well and enjoys the holiday weekend and the week ahead. Leave me a comment and tell me what you enjoyed about this post and/or what your plans are for the holiday weekend or the week ahead. Or...anything else that's on your mind. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Until Next Time,

*photos of scenery/buildings in Great Smoky Mountains Park by Debbie Ross

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

How To Style A Blue Polo Dress

 Blue Polo Dress and What's Been Happening

Hi Everyone!  Time sure has a way of passing quickly and I can't believe it has been so long since my last post! So, I thought I would share a little fashion with you along with tidbits of life over the last several days. 

You know, I have become a fan of Blair clothing over the last few years and when I saw this retro style Polo dress in blue, I decided to order it online. I really like this style of dress and thought you might be interested in how it can be styled. 

I wore the dress to do some church work the other day and felt like it would look good with a belt to give it some more definition around my waist. My solid black belt seemed to do the trick.

This longer white cardigan provided some nice contrast to the blue color and also gave some additional warmth since we continue to have cooler May days. I have always thought that blue and white look really good together. I keep reading about making sure that a sweater or jacket is 2/3 the length of the dress or skirt you are wearing and this cardigan seems to fulfill that rule. 

I first became acquainted with Blair clothing years ago when I saw some of the clothing my mother-in-law was wearing. She had closets-full of Blair. I looked at her catalogs and saw items that I thought were cute for someone my age. Fast forward several years and I bought a few items on Poshmark that were Blair and really enjoyed wearing and decided to buy an item from the actual online site. Over the years I have pretty much narrowed down my size for Blair items and have been happy with what I have purchased online. If you decide to order from this company I can give you a few suggestions that helped me. First off, read the size charts carefully and measure yourself to make sure. Reading the reviews about items can also help to see if sizing is true to size or runs small or large. Also, when you go online to browse on their site you will most likely be offered either a low shipping cost for your first purchase or there will be a code you can use to reduce shipping costs. It is worth it to wait until you can pay the least amount for shipping. I also recommend ordering one or two items only to start with until you are certain about your sizing. Blair does charge shipping to return items and that can be costly. Once you order online from them you will receive catalogs from them every other month or so but I enjoy browsing to see what they offer. They offer clearance items frequently and that is a good way to try items at a lower cost. This company occasionally changes where the clothing is manufactured and that sometimes results in reviews being mixed about quality or sizing but, as I mentioned, I have been 90% happy with what I have ordered either from the direct online site or Blair clothing from Poshmark. I'm not being compensated by Blair for sharing this dress with you. I just like their clothing!

In other news about what's been happening lately, my husband's Mother celebrated her 90th birthday last week and we enjoyed this delicious cake as part of her celebration!

It's hard to know what to buy for someone who is 90 years old! Her room in assisted living is filled with plants and flowers that have been sent to her so we decided she might enjoy a dish garden of succulents. Something a bit different. 

Other family members came to visit over the weekend and we took them up into the mountains toward Mt. Mitchell State Park to enjoy the scenery. It was a beautiful day to do this!

I believe The Mr. snapped this photo from on top of Mt. Mitchell. I wish you could smell the fresh clean scent of these pines. It was wonderful! The rain held off until we were driving back to our house so we didn't get wet. 

I snapped this photo of a bud on an Ohio Buckeye tree that we saw on the drive back. I had not seen a bud opening quite like this one before. 

And just look at this yummy pizza!  I have been lucky enough to eat at "My Father's Pizza" in Black Mountain, NC twice in the last month and a half. On the day this picture was taken, The Mr. and I drove there to lunch and look around the shops. Today, my dear friend, Sharon, and I were able to walk around Lake Tomahawk and then eat on the outside pation of the restaurant. 

The Mr. and I have been going to this restaurant for many, many years and always enjoy the pizza there. Today was no exception!

I'll close this post today with the bears that frequent our backyard. We have had many visits this Spring, almost everyday. Sometimes it's a mama and her yearlings or her itty bitty babies and sometimes it's a lone bear passing through. 

Photo by William Ross

And sometimes it's a baby bear wanting to know if Cassie and Garden want to come out to play! (They always decline!)

Hope your week is going well. I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Until Next Time,
Debbie (Stylin' Life and Enjoyin' This and That)

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Dusting Off Your Tiara?

 Donning My Tiara

Hello Everyone!  As you can see, I'm pulling out my tiara, faux pearls and Avon purchased Princess Diana engagement ring. How about you? Are you dusting off your tiara in anticipation of the Coronation on Saturday? 

Public Domain Image designed by Karen Arnold

To be honest, I'm not sure how interested I really am in watching the Coronation on Saturday. Mainly because I am a Princess Diana loyalist and I feel sad that it won't be her being crowned but "the other woman" will be. I know, I know. I keep reading that Camilla has ingratiated herself with much of the British public over the years she and Charles have been married. But, I haven't forgotten the fact that, according to Diana, she was the third wheel in her and Charles' marriage. 

Wouldn't Diana have made a beautiful queen? Just as I know Princess Catherine will make a beautiful queen at some point. I still enjoy looking back at my books and magazines of Diana. But it makes me sad. Because she will never be queen. I do continue to be interested in William and Harry and their families. I'm a bit disappointed in Harry's airing of the family laundry, though. I think he might have been able to get further with healing the rifts in the family without having written that book. But, perhaps I'm wrong. Who knows? I just know that every family has their issues and writing books about the issues usually isn't a good thing. I'm just sayin'

But, this whole post is just my opinion, you know. 

Anyway, I'm trying to decide if I want to set my alarm for 5:00 a.m. on Saturday to watch the Coronation or not. If I do, it will be in support of William, Catherine and Harry. 

How about you? Will you be watching the Coronation on Saturday? And if you would like to read my previous posts on the Royals you can click here and here

Meanwhile, I've got to get back to dusting off my tiara. It doesn't dust itself you know!!

Until Next Time,
Princess Debbie

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Spring Flowers, Delicious Salads and A Troublesome Top

 A Little Bit of This and That For Spring

Hello everyone! Today, in true "this and that" fashion I have a little something for everyone. Really just some items from daily living. Hope you enjoy. Our azaleas have finally decided to bloom so I took a walk on our driveway the other day snapping some photos along the way. I just love the pretty spring colors. I only wish they lasted longer than they do!

I captured this close-up of the white azalea. They are both delicate and intricate in their details aren't they? 

The azaleas along our waterfall are also in bloom, though not very full. The recent heavy rains we had caused our waterfall to be running steadily. It sounds so pretty. I love the sound of running water and find it to be quite relaxing. 

This purple azalea was blooming in the yard of my flute teacher. I took a moment to take a picture on my way out after my lesson. I'm finding my flute study to be a combination of fun and frustration! I want to automatically play beautifully without having embouchure issues and dropping my right arm too much. I realize that I am "ahem" a little older than I was when I started taking violin as a kid so there can't be a comparison between music lessons then and now, right?! After all, 60 isn't the new 10, LOL!! But, I keep on persevering. Flute is a lovely instrument. 

On another note (no pun intended), I've been enjoying some delicious salads here lately and thought I would share some pics on the blog. I love a tasty salad with layers of many flavors. Here, I created a spinach salad covered with carrots, sliced boiled egg, and almond slivers with cranberries. My go-to homemade salad dressing is a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed to taste with approximately two tablespoons of olive oil, onion powder and no salt garlic spices. I mix the dressing vigorously and spoon it onto the salad. 

On another day I created a salad of spinach with mixed bagged salad topped with boiled egg slices and ham that I browned in a skillet. The dressing is the same. Salads are so yummy and can be a great go to for lunch or a light dinner meal. Although I didn't use it in these salads, I sometimes add Durkee's Onions as a topping for some flavorful crunch. And the slivered almonds and cranberries I used in the first salad are from one of those salad topping bags you can get in the salad dressing aisle at the grocery store. I also use the nuts/cranberries as toppings for oatmeal in the morning. So delicious!

 Hope I didn't make you too hungry with all of the salad and topping descriptions! I'll finish this post with a picture of a "troublesome top" that I purchased recently. It's actually a dressy cardigan that I thrifted and brought home and dutifully washed. 

I happily discovered that the cardigan matched a dress that I already own perfectly and decided to wear the pair to the symphony concert I attended a week ago. Imagine my dismay when I discovered glitter everywhere the next day! There was glitter on my dress, on the car seat and I even kept finding glitter on me! I did some research online and found an article about using hairspray on tops with glitter. Which could be a possible solution. But, if anyone out there in blog land has had this same problem and can share a better solution I'm all ears! (And those ears are probably covered in glitter).

Be sure to leave a comment before you go. I love hearing from you. And, once again, many comments are coming in as "anonymous" and I'm trying to guess as to whom is leaving them. It would be helpful if at the end of your comment you leave your first name. Thanks so much. 

Until Next Time,
Debbie (This and That)

Monday, April 10, 2023

Flowery Thrifted Skirt and A Neat Trick for Giving Your Tops Oomph

 Goodwill Thrifting and Styling My Top

Hello everyone! I haven't done a style post in quite awhile but I got inspired today after doing some Goodwill thrifting. I thrifted a pretty new skirt for Spring/Summer with lovely pink flowers and a blue background. It fits perfectly and as I tried on different tops with it from my closet I suddenly remembered a neat trick which I have seen online but never tried. See how my top is gathered on the front?

You can create this look by pulling together some material underneath the shirt and securing it with a hair rubber band. When you pull the shirt down it creates that lovely gather. 

I like how my top is gathered in such a way that I have a waistline and it also shortens the top a bit which looks good with the skirt. 

Look at the difference if I just wear the top without the gather on the front. The neat thing is you can choose where you place the gather. I did mine just a little off center, but you could do it closer to the side or in the middle or even do two gathers one on each side. This trick also works to shorten a dress if you have a maxi that's too long. This isn't my original idea but it certainly is a good idea! It's the perfect way to add a little extra oomph to an outfit!

I went with blue jewelry adding a blue tear-drop necklace and my blue sapphire ring. Remember when I told the story of finding the sapphire stone in this ring

My sandals are thrifted also, either from Poshmark or Thredup. I really can't remember now. I enjoy thrifting clothing when I find something that is in good shape, is of good quality and is something I know I will wear. Buying pre-loved clothing is also good for our environment as it cuts down on the use of dyes and other materials that harm the environment plus it promotes the use of less water for making clothing which is also important to our world. These are things I really never paid that much attention to until recently. Everything I wear is not thrifted but much of it is and I feel good about my choices. Plus, I always enjoy a good bargain! Try finding a skirt on Amazon or in a store for $4.99! 

How about you? Do you like to thrift? Have you tried the trick for adding a pleated front to your tops or dresses? Have any other tricks for adding oomph to an outfit? Doing any reading on how the fashion industry affects the environment? Be sure to share in the comments. I always enjoy hearing from my readers. 

And, I didn't do a specific Easter post but I pray that each of you enjoyed a blessed and happy Easter Day. He is risen indeed!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Flowers, Books and Hair

 A Little Bit of This and That

Hi everyone!  In true "this and that" fashion, today's post is a little bit of something for everyone. I'm sharing books, flower arrangements and hair so sit back and enjoy the read! Let's get started with books first. You know I'm a great hand for re-reading books I own and lately I have been binge reading the "Cat Who" series by Lillian Jackson Braun. Oh, how I love this series and I sure wish that the author was still alive and could write more of the escapades of James Qwilleran and his siamese cats Koko and Yum Yum! The funny thing about this series is that if I let time go by and then re-read one of the books it's like I'm reading it for the first time. I may remember bits and pieces but not the whole thing. Some people don't like re-reading books they have already read but I'm not one of those people! I just finished reading the last book in the series, "The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers," and I must say that this is my least favorite book in the series. It was written, I believe, at a time when Ms. Braun was older and ill and I don't know if she had a ghost writer helping her or what but parts of the story just don't seem to fit the James Qwilleran and other characters I know from all of the other books. However, I read it to finish out the series and did enjoy it somewhat. Just not as much as the other books. 

When I walk into the room I redid, my wall book shelf is one of the first things I see. And nothing makes me happier than to see the colorful covers on my books, including the Cat Who Series which is front and center. I feel like my books are my friends and I so enjoy reading them! 

I also love fresh flowers! I bought a grocery store bundle and decided to use the bundle to create three different arrangements. It's fun to arrange flowers using different types of holders. As you can see here I used a short glass vase, a teapot and a tall slender vase for the arrangements. All it takes is cutting the stems to the right length and then creating the colors you want for each vase. 

I placed the teapot of flowers on the side table in the living room. 

And the other two arrangements are on the bookcase in "my room." I love the lavender and purple colors against the white of the carnations. So very pretty. 

And, finally, I had my hair cut and styled today so shout out to Teresa Case at One Step A Head salon! 

I asked her for long layers in the back and I just love how it looks! 

So that's it for today. I hope you are enjoying a day full of sunshine and a day that has pretty flowers, good books and happy hair! Let me know in the comments how your day is going, okay? 

Until Next Time,
Debbie (This and That😉)

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Spare Room Redo and They're Back!

 My Room Is Finished

My room now reflects peace and tranquility

Hello everyone!  Remember I told you that I was redoing our spare room? The one I call, "my room?" Well, it's finished and I couldn't be more pleased. 

This is the room before we made the changes. It was really looking overcrowded. I decided that I wanted the room to reflect peace and tranquility and so I set about doing just that. The sofa bed couch was given to Goodwill as we just weren't using it anymore. If guests come we have other options. The Mr. painted the walls and I switched out the rug and the valances.

I almost got rid of this bookcase but changed my mind and kept it and I'm glad I did. It really is necessary for storage. This is another "before" pic. The bulletin board was moved to the other side of the room and I changed out the covering on it to match the other decor. 

This is the bookcase now. Much neater and holding useful items. I moved the ocean picture to be above the bookcase where I can gaze at it from my new blue chair. I tried to stick to a blue theme throughout the room. The new valances have stripes of blue against a light tan background which The Mr. and I both really like. They also allow light to shine in which I wanted. 

And the star of the show is my new blue swivel chair which I absolutely love! It is so pleasant to sit and swivel while reading or just "soonering" as my Mom used to say. She meant "thinking." Not sure where she came up with that word but it's what I do sometimes...just sit and sooner (think) about whatever! The round rug is one we were using in another part of our house. I decided it was perfect for my room with the blue/rose colors against a light beige background. It's smaller than the previous rug but I like it that way. I enjoy seeing the pretty wood floors. If you want to read more about how I picked out my chair you can read that post here

I'm just so pleased with how everything turned out. I feel accomplished with my choices for redoing and with the items I kept and the items I didn't keep. It took a lot of going through things and making decisions. That part was hard and I still have some items to go through and make decisions about. But I find that is a continual state as we go through life. The things I use are much more organized now and I can locate things more easily. I had some sticker shock with buying new items like the chair, paint and supplies, valances and a rug to replace the one I'm now using in the room. But, I got pretty good bargains along the way so that was good. And I had The Mr. to do the painting and move heavy pieces around for me! Thanks so much to him! Good friends also helped move the sofa bed couch to Goodwill which I truly appreciate!

I used light gray shelf paper to recover the bulletin board. It goes well with the blue throughout the room plus I have a couple baskets in the room that have gray tones in them. My pseudo quilt that I sewed is hanging from the board. It has a sand dollar charm hanging in the middle that my Mom bought for me when I was in college and we were at the beach for the very first time. 

 I framed the Serenity Prayer and I Corinthians 13 pictures that I have had forever and put them on the wall along with some other favorite items. Sharon, I hope you are okay with me hanging the snack mat on the wall. It's just too pretty to eat off of it!

This "R" is one of those cardboard letters you can buy at any craft store. I covered it with pretty blue scrapbook paper to hang on the wall. I thought the blue would blend well with the other blues in the room. 

And this is a zendoodle that I did several years ago and like to display. I really enjoyed creating this and it makes me feel "artistic" when I look at it!

This is a cute new sign I bought at Michael's to display in the room. At first I thought I would hang it on the wall but then I decided to place it in the window. The colors are a sort of blue/gray which matches the decor. And the bees are a reference to my name. "Deborah" means bee in Hebrew. 

Everything in "my room" is a reflection in some way of me and of the things that make me happy and have meaning in my life. I was quite specific when I told The Mr. that I wanted to redo the room that I wanted to make the choices for the decor myself. It pleases me that The Mr. really likes the outcome and it has inspired him to want to redo his study in ways that he likes. We laughingly called this room my "she shed room" so I guess his room can be his "man cave room." Of course, Cassie thinks this room is her "fur room." She steals my chair to sit in every chance she gets!

And look who's back! We are so relieved to see Mrs. Bear and her three cubs back in our yard. We had worried about not seeing any bears as of yet due to the new laws that allow bear hunting in bear sanctuaries. But, here they are!

These cubs are now yearlings and have grown so much since last summer! It really makes me feel like Spring is here when I see the bears arrive. 

How are you doing? Enjoying Spring? Seeing any bears? Redoing any rooms? Be sure to share in the comments. I would love to hear your comments on my room redo also!

Until Next Time,