Monday, September 17, 2018

Dear Daughters: Do You Have An Aretha In Your Life?

Dear Daughters: 

Do you have an Aretha in your life?

Oh my goodness, I hope so.

You cannot travel through life without a voice, a song, or a beat that grabs you so fiercely whenever you hear it (regardless of your age), you have to move.

It is that soundtrack playing in the background, while growing up, that will play in your heart forever.

Somehow that sound connects us to our younger fearless, independent self.

Some day when you are my age, and you hear that special song, please dance- no matter where you are.

As Dad said to me during a recent grocery shopping trip,

"Boy, you really like to dance in the grocery store."

Why yes.
Yes I do.

My next favorite place to dance? In Hauler II (my Tahoe), of course, while driving.

Aretha and a whole host of Motown singers and groups were my soundtrack, as I watched American Bandstand faithfully every Saturday.

As soon as the program was over, I ran down the hall at the ranch, locked myself into my lavender bedroom with the lavender carpet, put a 45 or an album on the stereo and danced in front of the mirror.

I can still picture those Saturday mornings as if they were yesterday. 

It makes me smile as I write this to imagine what Nonnie was saying to Papa as he asked, "Where's Sister?"

"Oh, she's locked up in her bedroom practicing her dancing."

That practicing goes with you as you travel through life. 

It is tied to your own special imagination and creativity and that singular ability to entertain yourself- oh and practicing.

That is the touchstone I hope you have:) 

Now go find a mirror and dance.

Love , Mom

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Kindness From My Garden

I am blessed to say that I have been on the receiving end of acts of kindness too numerous to count.

That blessing, that forever humbles me, and the theme for September's Ten on the Tenth, Random Acts of Kindness, has caused me to really think about what this means.

More importantly, what does it look like when I am the giver and not the receiver of such acts?

Here is what I think:)

I realized years ago that if I follow that nudge to say or do something special for someone, my personal pleasure ( and theirs) is increased when I do it creatively.

That creativity sends a special message.

My favorite source for that creative inspiration is in my garden.
As I have gotten older, I like to think about what my mother or grandmother would do for a friend (long time or new), in need of a little lift.

It may have been the sharing of a cutting, or a basket of fresh vegetables, or something they baked to go along with it.

They were instinctive gardeners and great sharers, so I know they combined the two.

I am so grateful that I can walk out my door to my modest kitchen garden and gather some of my zinnias, find a vase that I have for just such an occasion, and create that lift for someone else.

My zinnias make me smile everyday in amazement, and I know they do the same thing for others.
I know you do this kind of thing as well. 
Bloggers are natural edifiers and act kindly every time they leave a comment or offer encouragement or send an email.

May I mention one in particular ?

Stacey of Poofing the Pillows is the perfect example of such kindness. 

She has offered me encouragement about blogging , encouraged me to return to it when I slip away for a bit, laughed with me when I don't understand the technology in it all, and has always acted as a friend.

Just reading her heartfelt posts on her love of home, family, and life is a special blessing and act of kindness for us all.

And now to an amazing group of bloggers who add their own special dose of creativity to everything they post and do for others.

Please make sure you visit these ladies for their heartfelt posts on kindness.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Flea Market Fashion

One of my greatest joys at the flea market is when I find jewelry and accessories.

It is important to say at this point that I am never looking for anything specific.

For me, it is about the thrill of the hunt, the fresh air, the low prices, the smiling people, and a really cold diet coke.

It is about pulling my cantankerous cart, wearing one of my favorite hats, and wearing my flip flops.

The jewelry treasures I find are never more that $10, which makes them perfect for this month's Ten on the Tenth celebration on fashion.

Here are a few of my fashion favorites from the flea market.
(In the interest of full disclosure there are LOTS more...)

Let's begin with my all-time favorite .

I was standing at the back of Oscar's trailer piled high with boxes one Saturday morning at the McAllen flea market. When he began to open boxes and pull things out, and I spotted a leopard print tote, I tried to casually say, "May I have that?"

It was the like new Consuela bag above:)  Price $5.

How do I use it? As a tote for whatever we all put in totes:)

 And then there was the vendor across from Oscar.

He had mountains of tangled jewelry on 3 large tables every Saturday and Sunday.
Weekend after weekend,I was in heaven, tangles and all.
I found the necklace above for $2 and the jeweled cuff was

I do love cuffs.

How have I worn these?  The necklace looks wonderful with a white linen shirt, and I wore the black cuff with a black tunic and white cropped jeans.
And then there was the jewelry lady at the Hidalgo flea market.
Each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday she had the most amazing things- all new with tags.

I bought all of the door knocker earrings for $3 a pair.
I am a devotee of door knocker earrings. They look good on everyone:)

Does anyone remember the Anne Klein lion's head door knocker earrings? 

How have I used these?  With white linen or white cropped jeans, or some of my Mexican tops.
And then there are some of my favorite vintage flea market accessories.

I LOVE this vintage tooled leather clutch from Mexico and the Guatamalan belt. If memory serves, the clutch was $4 and the belt was $1.

How have I used these?
With white of course:)
And these Nine West pink suede heels (new with tags) from the Ascarate flea market here in El Paso? They were $5, and they make me laugh when I look at them.

You haven't lived until you have balanced yourself on one foot while trying on heels at the flea market:)

Especially when you wear a size 9.
And if I love cuffs, I ADORE bangles. I have millions.
My philosophy? The bigger the better:)

I like anything with a repousse finish.  

Here are two more examples of favorites.

I hope you will visit all of the other wonderful ladies below.They are all so smart, and I know you will love their posts.

The Purple Hydrangea
Bluesky atHome

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Twenty Years In

Today I coined a garden expression that describes how I have recently felt.

Some days I want a garden here in El Paso that is

‘20 years in’.

You know what I mean, right?

How simple it would be if this garden had roses established just waiting for me, blooming riotously just to prove their place in our new domain- as if to say, 

“Hey Lady, what are you going to do about it?”

And how nice it would be if the previous owner had walked outside over the years and realized things needed to be planted.

And then I have a little talk with myself and my heart remembers sayings from my father:

“Get after it.”

“We’re burning daylight.”


“Well then, you better get started.”

And so I have.
And an interesting thing happens when you let common sense speak and you get over yourself.

New gardening ideas surface.

I am planting roses that are hot colored- like the colors in talavera.

So my new Tropicana rose (above) has big plans to show off someday.DSC00159
For now the days of soft pink roses and traditionally weeded and manicured beds are not what calls to me.

It isn’t about the perfectly staged or aligned.

It is back to my roots.

It is back to Rancho Landscaping:), which I defined years ago in a conversation  with my dear friend Anna, at a birthday group celebration held at my house.

I told her I had hit upon a name for how I garden and my kind of landscape design.

I called it rancho.

As in muy rancho.

As in Rancho Landscaping…

literal translation: ranch

my loose translation: imperfect, simple, humble, ‘dolled up’ for special occasions , 

daring, a little shy… jammed in the ground with high hopes and a smile.

This new gardening journey is about Rancho Landscaping, 

and digging holes and planting as many wild colored things as I can find.

It is about bougainvillea and hot colored roses and lavender, and bright 

gold lantana, and the hot colored zinnias planted in the raised bed 


And  now I know it is going to all be ok.



Though a tad late :), I am joining a wonderful
Garden Party with dear sweet hostesses.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Container Gardening

Container Gardening

Would it surprise you to learn that container gardening has a different meaning for me?

For me it is all about finding a unique container I already have, and the story that goes with it.

For the stone retablo in our front courtyard, I pulled purple verbena which was growing wildly in our back yard and 'planted' its roots in a small opening at the retablo base.

Why? Because on an El Paso garden tour of homes this past Sunday, I saw purple verbena everywhere, peeking out of unusual places in beautiful West Texas gardens.

This past weekend I also enjoyed using some of my blue and white pieces as 'containers'. 

After a quick trip to WalMart's garden center, where I found a yucca plant for less than $7, a spike dracena for $4, and a sedum plant for $6 , I tucked them into some of my favorite blue and white pieces in our entry.

It all looked brighter when I tucked a cutting from a pink kolanche I had on our back porch in as well.
When I planted the spike dracena in my new blue and white bird planter, this adventure in container gardening was complete. 

Container gardening is usually much larger in scale than what I created this weekend, and it combines multiple plants.

I have created those as well, but this weekend was about something else:)
Try this. It is so much fun.  

I have planted small plants and succulents in antique Mexican pottery and silverplate pieces and in pots that are already full of plants.

Container gardening should be as simple as combining something 'found' with a small plant that matches that container in quirkiness. 

These smaller plants create the perfect touch in a vignette in the garden and inside as well.

It is affordable and fun which makes it perfect for April's Ten on the Tenth.

I hope you will visit all of the other wonderful bloggers who are sharing their container gardening ideas for 
They are all so creative .


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