February 27, 2012

Poppies and Primping

I first noticed it at the shopping mall during the Christmas season. A number of beauties were sporting the look both behind and in front of the check out counter. It was flirty and youthful, this look...no matter the age, coloring or wardrobe of the wearer. I was completely smitten by the effect.

My female friends, I give you

Poppy-colored lipstick.

Lying somewhere on the color wheel between coral pink and tomato red.  More of a stain, really.  Absent any gooeyness or heaviness.

Fresh and feminine and 

perfect for spring.

You won't be seeing me in pale blue nail polish or glittery green eye shadow...a little too Cirque du Soleil, albeit trendy, for this gardener. But I HAVE been coloring my smooch in that juicy and au currant poppy hue.  Every cosmetic line has their version, and one that I feel sure would be right for you.  But if you're not sure where to start in your search for the perfect shade, try these inexpensive brands as testers:

NYC's #407  'Smooch'  
Wet and Wild's #520E 'Hot Paris Pink'

Still feel that it looks a little too 'Barbie', not 'poppy'.  Then tone it down with a nude lip pencil or a mixed coat of a neutral shade in your existing lipstick wardrobe.

And blot, blot, blot.

The effect we're going for, ladies, is popsicle mouth.

With all of its innocent charm, and vibrancy, and
yes, perkiness.

(Come on...you can still do perky, can't you?) 

My 'Shirley' poppies won't be blooming for weeks yet.

I'll just have to wait it out with a little poppy-colored primping.

(I'll wear the shade on NewsChannel4
at 4:30 this Friday.  You can give it a thumbs up or down. Oh, and we'll be talking about seasonal rose care... NOT poppies.  :)

February 23, 2012

Do's and Don'ts for the Garden: Late February

If the weather isn't pleasant enough to be working in the garden tomorrow...

then tune in to watch my Do's and Don'ts segment on News Channel 4 at 4:30.

February 20, 2012

Cure For Gratuitous Cuteness

First of all, let's make the assumption that it is possible to recognize and revel in ubiquitous cuteness without reacting at the checkout stand.  Of course, I'm only talking about gratuitous and unnecessary cuteness here.  

That cute journal/spatula/scarf/pillow...that you not only don't need, but oft times won't even use.  Why?  Because it just too dern CUTE to use/consume/give away.  We save it for that special something or someone or special occasion that never materializes.  (And if it does, we forget where we put it.)

My solution to this dilemma is a shopping technique I think of as 

Temporary Custody.

Go ahead.  Give in to temptation.  Put that darling little knick-knack in your basket.  Imagine where you will place it to maximize it's cuteness.  Set the table with it, wear it, plant something in it...and then put it in your shopping cart.  (This works both in brick and mortar stores AND online, I might add.)

Continue your shopping...for the things you REALLY need.

Pretty soon you will begin to notice that it's not QUITE so cute off the display shelf. Unaccompanied by its color cousins and back up band it's not QUITE so tantalizing.  It slowly dawns on you that it really doesn't fit into your kitchen's color scheme...doesn't enhance your thick waist/ankles/skull...or is more 'precious-moments' cute than 'shabby-chic' cute.  

Further cart possession eventually leads to a new sentiment about your knick-knack:

  • You need it like a hole in the head; 
  • don't have the cabinet space for it;
  • realize you already have three almost just like it; 
  • are already bored by it, and

the coup de gras:

You can already see it in the trash or, more likely, the Salvation Army donation box you've just put on the front porch.

Voila! A new definition of a product's life cycle is born.

And you put your little knick-knack back on the shelf.

Well done, you!

February 17, 2012

The Ubiquity of Cuteness

As I write this I am listening to the jaunty lyrics of Alouette in the most recent TARGET commercial, Color Changes Everything (just click to watch)...

(Isn't this potting shed cute?)

which brings me to the topic the Ubiquity of Cuteness, a thought bubble that has been floating around in my head for several days now (not unlike that little French ditty.)

There was a time when one could make a trip to TARGET (or Walmart or the Dollar Store for that matter) and return home, relatively unscathed in the pocket book department.  We, for the most part, stuck to our list and avoided the temptations of Point of Purchase displays and seasonal chotskes.  

We may have to go back a few years, but there was a time when, yes, quite frankly, things weren't just all that cute in the stores we frequented often.

Now   we are accosted by cuteness EVERYWHERE.  

One no sooner walks in the door of almost any store than one is overwhelmed by seasonal or thematic  cuteness.  Cuteness in every color, for every age group, for every size, for every weather condition, for every fad, for every hair color, for every gender (well, two anyway)...sometimes edible, sometimes not, cuteness. Customized, colorized, categorized, cleverly-packaged


It can be absolutely exhausting, this cuteness.  Enter its pearly gates and checking out just one of its aisles becomes a virtual impossibility.  If the contents of Aisle One are this cute, what might be EVEN CUTER in Aisle Two?  If the office supplies aisle is this charming, what, prey tell, is charming (only in numerous different patterns) in the gift wrap aisle?

Enticing SPRING cuteness beside the even MORE enticing (and now on sale!) FALL cuteness. Oh, and for both the INSIDE and OUTSIDE of your waiting-to-be-further-cutified home.

And all you came in for was some Jet Dry and toilet paper.

Earlier this week I went and had lunch with my friend Sunshine who is a buyer for one of the epicenters of cuteness, Hobby Lobby.  She showed me her new office and gave me a tour of the fantastical warehouse world of craftiness, in all of its iterations.

"Oh, look at this!" we would say over and over again to one another.  "Isn't this CUTE!"

We would both acknowledge the item's inherent cuteness (though we both also acknowledged the fine, often VERY fine, line between CUTE... and TACKY).

And if it isn't cute in the pastel version, it might very well be cute in primary colors. Or in lamp form.

But I confided to Sunshine that I had my concerns about all of this cuteness, and whether or not its sheer ubiquity diluted its value.  I can remember a time when I actually created cuteness.  With pinking sheers and polka dot paper scraps and leftover twine.  Now this version of cuteness is available in packages of twelve in the Notions Department, and quite often, for less not only time, but money.

"Now EVERYONE  can be or do cute",  I told Sunshine.  "With little or no imagination".

And I pondered out loud whether or not this easy access to cuteness diluted
its very value, its very specialness. Yes, we both decided, the ante had definitely gone up in the cuteness department.  Mere cuteness just doesn't cut it any more.

Something now must be.......extra-ordinarily cute.


Does our misery never end?

(Check in with me tomorrow and I'll reveal my favorite technique for warding off the cuteness epidemic. Till then, have a cute evening. )


February 8, 2012

Roman Holiday

Head verses Heart

Risk verses Return

Practicality verses...


Such is the deliberation my oldest son has been engaged in this past week.  One would think it a no brainer, going to Rome. Especially since the raison d'ĂȘtre for the trip is a spring break visit to a girlfriend in Italy on a semester abroad.

But that would diminish the level-headedness and seriousness and deep analysis with which he approaches nearly everything.  (Not to mention the availability of Dad's airline points and Pop's willingness to part with them...)

It will not be his first visit to Italy. Husband and I took our boys to many dream-inducing places around the world (though as they often remind us, never Disneyland...)  Cherished time recorded in journals and pictures we 

created together.  Recorded memories that with very little effort can reduce me to a blubbering blob of inconsolable parental longing... and heartache over the passage of time and the transience of childhood, of life, of moment, of chance.  

So when he approached me with his comprehensive list of pros and cons about the trip

wanting input, wanting confirmation, wanting assurance... that he had covered every issue, every angle, every outcome

 I told him (after determining that there indeed were enough airline points...)

that you're only young once;

in like (if not love) with the possibility of romance in one of the planet's most sensuous cities, 

with a world of potential at your feet 

(not to mention the metabolism of a 21 year old)

 with a chance to spend a week in ROME .

If not now, my darling


But then, isn't that true of me too?  I am at this very second the youngest I will ever be and the oldest I have ever been.

With prospects for love and opportunity and potential...and moments of possibility

Same lesson.  Same advice.

Just different dreams for different dreamers I guess.

And for both of us...for all of us

 If not now


February 3, 2012

Superbowl and the Schnitzelbank

Sometimes, things just don't seem right.  Or sound right.  It doesn't mean the thing doesn't have merit.  Just that it is kinda-off if you know what I mean.  For example, I was recounting to Color Girl the blissful weekend that had just been mine. All of my men-folk were gone, you see.  Sons at school; husband gone fishing.  Me alone, gorging on solitude and closet-cleaning-outing and past episodes of Downton Abbey ... and, of course, eating whatever I wanted for dinner.

On Saturday, I told her, I had a can of smoked oysters, and muesli mixed with Greek yogurt  for my repast.  She acknowledged that I had obviously enjoyed it, but didn't sound as if it would have been her first choice.  (Or second, for that matter.)  After some clarification... that the smoked oysters had NOT been mixed in ALONG with the yogurt and muesli, she sounded somewhat less repulsed by my choice; still, I could tell it just didn't sound right to her. 

Last week was my Dad's 87th birthday. L'il Sis was driving him around for a day of birthday adventure, and in the course of their traveling, my Dad asked her how old he was.  (Why is it that the older we get, the more difficult it is to remember our age...)  Anyhow, she told him he was 87, to which he responded with a resounding denial that that was the case.  She asked him how old he THOUGHT he was, to which he responded with an emphatic "73!" 

After working through the math, he grudgingly acknowledged the number, but  ended the discussion with  "well, that just doesn't SOUND right".  True that,  I am thinking, true that.

Dad's day of birthday fun included a meal at a local German institution-of-a-restaurant...the Schnitzelbank.  German fare for this uber-German birthday boy.

Given that the entirety of Indiana is consumed with Super Bowl fever, birthday fun wasn't the only thing on tap (along with the German beer) at the Schnitzelbank.  My mom was downright giddy at the prospect of voting for the Schnitzelbank bratwurst as HER favorite contender in the Indiana Superbowl 46 Sandwich Playoffs. (Click here to join the fun and vote Bratwurst!)  

After all votes were cast, L'il Sis took the tired birthday boy home...a person can handle only so much excitement after all.  She did, however, take the time to read a flyer about more impending fun at the Schnitzelbank: 

A Spay-ghetti and (No) meatball fundraiser being held this weekend by the local Humane Society. 

Good times.  Good times.