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Good morning, friends! I hope your day is off to a good start! This is the first Monday in a long time that I wasn’t just coming home from travel or preparing for travel. I love to travel, but I am glad to be home for a few weeks, anyway.

Our garden and yard have REALLY suffered with our absences. If I had been home, I would’ve been pulling weeds daily, eyeing spots on my tomato leaves, and treating the spider mites before they decimated my thyme and rosemary. You don’t realize how much a little daily tending adds up until you don’t tend daily for many days! I guess that’s a good analogy for life, health, and relationships in general; daily tending seems to smooth out many big issues.

We had our daughter and her crazy but oh-so-loveable dog home for another week after our mountain vacation. We had intended a quiet relaxing week, but the universe had other plans. Regardless, it was so lovely having her here.

new on the blog

If you are looking for an easy appetizer that has been heartily enjoyed by everyone I have served it to, then this Chive Gorgonzola Cheese Spread needs to be added to your appetizer repertoire! It was the lovely result of needing a last-minute appetizer and ‘shopping’ my fridge before I ran to the grocery store.

Chive Gorgonzola Cheese Spread in a jar with crackers.

Some of these are affiliate links, and I will earn a small commission off of the sale of these products, but the price you are charged is not affected. You can see my full disclosure policy here.

books

I am on track with my Goodreads 2022 Reading Challenge (17 of 30!) I’ve just started (as in last night) My Brilliant Friend at the recommendation of one of my brilliant friends! 😉

Here’s what I’ve read thus far and whether I’m thumbs up 👍🏻, thumbs down 👎🏻 or neutral 👉🏻on it.

  • Pompeii, Robert Harris 👍🏻👍🏻 I read this historical fiction right before we toured Pompeii and it was a great primer.
  • The Black House, Peter May👍🏻👍🏻These next three books are set on several islands in the Hebrides, of the coast of Scotland. I read them right before I spent several days with my dear friend. They are murder mysteries, but more than that they really gave me a sense of the place.
  • The Lewis Man, Peter May👍🏻👍🏻
  • The Chess Men, Peter May👍🏻👍🏻
  • The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 It has been a LONG time since I enjoyed a book as much as I enjoyed this one. It has a Huckleberry Finn/Tom Sawyer feel to it, in that the main characters are young men coming of age in the 1950s. It is just a lovely story with dynamic and complicated characters. This was my first Amor Towles book, and I was a bit sad when I finished it. His writing style is just beautiful. So, I immediately jumped into…
  • A Gentleman in Moscow, Amore Towles👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻If you like Dickens-type novels, sweeping stories with interesting characters, you’ll love this one. This story focuses on Count Rostov, who has been confined to a hotel in Moscow, and the associated staff and residents of the hotel. Once again, Towles writing style and his character development really speak to me.
  • Rules of Civility, Amor Towles👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 I really did like it, but not quite as much as the other two. Set in 1938 New York, the main character is a young woman who is trying to navigate the time and characters of her orbit.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Land👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 This is a challenging book to review. I am typically averse to ‘science fiction’ and almost discarded it because the jacket referred to a character living in the future on a spaceship. If you are similarly averse to futuristic novels, do not let that deter you! Trust me on this! This book wraps up several different characters in different settings and time periods so neatly and with a common thread that really comes together at the end. Several nice ‘aha’ moments and a clear message at the end.
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog 👍🏻👍🏻I very much enjoyed it. Not gonna lie; some of the philosophical ramblings lost me a bit. But I still found it a charming, sometimes humorous book with an uplifting message. Lovely and sympathetic main characters.

a new word

When I picked up My Brilliant Friend last night, the excerpted review on the book’s cover included a word that stopped me in my tracks and took me promptly to the Googler to define it!

BILDUNGSROMAN – (n) a novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education.

huh…don’t you wonder who decided that that word would mean that? and what a specialized word it is, too!

music

What are you listening to? I would call my music choices ‘eclectic’ or some would say ‘all over the place’!

While writing, I tell Alexa to play the Stacey Kent station. Stacey is an American Jazz Singer, and the station plays primarily female jazz singers with a little Michael Buble and Tony Bennet thrown in for good measure. This music calms my soul but does not distract me.

In the car, I play the 70s on 7 station because it is fun and brings back such fun memories and good feelings!

When doing ‘things’ other than writing, I play my own ‘curated’ Amazon Music Playlist of 277 of my favorite songs. This playlist is all over the place, from bluegrassy Allison Krauss and country Keith Urban & Chris Stapleton to the Beatles, Elton John and Michael Jackson and EVERYTHING in between. I just realized I could share this if you are interested.

other favorite things

I appreciate tried and true recommendations from friends and family. To that end, here are a few of my tried and true favorite products, tips and things that make my world work. What are some of your tried and trues? I love crowd-sourcing helpful tips and products.

personal care

  • Remember, at the beginning of the year, when I told you about my nail dip fiasco? How, after getting my nails dipped three times, they were paper thin and splitting? In my efforts to build them back up, I tried a couple of products. Some worked, and some I’m not sure about.
    • I am a believer in Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides! In my effort to make it more economical, I started using only half of the recommended dose and didn’t notice anything dramatic. When I decided to pull out all stops to repair my nails, I started using it at the recommended higher dose of 2 scoops daily, adding to my morning tea. Not only are my nails remarkably improved, but I notice the old-lady skin on my arms looks less old lady. But what really made an impression on me was the dramatic improvement of the skin on my feet! I have been trying to improve the skin on my feet and heels for my entire life. For the first time ever, I get into bed and notice how smooth my heels are against my sheets. It looks like it may be on sale at Amazon right now, but I buy mine at Costco.
    • When I was in ‘triage’ mode with my nails and was just trying to stop them from splitting even more, this nail repair kit did the job. Granted, it wasn’t pretty, but it was a good stop-gap while they slowly grew out and got stronger.
  • I am a routine girl! This is why I think I do love being home for extended periods of time. Find a routine that works for you, its a great way to reduce the stress in your world. Here are some other ways to reduce stress.
  • This next idea is only if YOU DON’T HAVE CHILDREN IN THE HOUSE! I’m always looking for ways to streamline daily processes. To that end, I ‘decanted’ my daily medications so they are easy for me to grab in the morning. I write the name of each prescription on the front of the little dish.

organization

  • I make my own planner every year through Plum Papers. Each day has a place for personal to-dos’ and blog to-dos. Though so much of my life is digitalized, I realized that I am a write-it-down on-paper kind of gal.
  • Speaking of digitization, if you are still using a password notebook, you need to check out LastPass. Every day, I sign in with one password, and all my other passwords are auto-filled. One less thing for my brain to keep up with. And you can sync it with all your devices.
  • The Our Groceries app and Alexa on my Echo have made keeping up with grocery needs so easy! Gone are the days of having a paper list that I invariably forgot when I went to the grocery store. We are all trained to say, ‘Alexa, tell our groceries to add scallions to Harris Teeter’ or whatever store. You can have multiple store lists. I use it for Home Depot as well.
  • Along the same lines, I have created alarms on my phone for regular tasks. It helps me to take them off my mind and give them to my phone. So, now I am reminded when the Recycling bin needs to go out, when I need to scoop the litter box, when I need to take my hot-flash meds🥵😨😂 (etc… My family laughs at all my reminders, but it keeps me sane and organized.
  • This little felt carrier was the thing I didn’t know I needed! My office is upstairs and the rest of my life is downstairs. At the end of each day, I tuck whatever projects I’m working on and my laptop into this sturdy little carrier and tote it downstairs. It’s like my traveling office/craft room.

kitchen

  • When our kitchen was redone two years ago, I laid down this clear, non-adhesive, ridged shelf liner where my dishes and glasses are stored. You can barely see it, but it protects that wood surface from water drops and dings. And the little ridges let air flow, keeping it dry.
  • This semi-DIY drawer organizer has completely fulfilled my hopes and expectations.
  • Oven Liner…why did it take me so long to find these? For what they do, they are very reasonable! Gone are the days of scraping boiled-over food from the bottom of my oven or toaster oven. They wash up easily and are completely reusable.

dog days of summer

fun fact! The dog days of summer (July 3 – August 11) are the 20 days before and after the dog star ‘Sirius’ comes into alignment with the Sun, at which time it is at its brightest. This alignment coincides with the hottest period of the summer in the Northern Hemisphere!

So, how are you staying cool during these dog days?

Are you still with me??

That is a LOT of stuff for you to mull over today. I finished one knit potholder pattern and am working on a crochet potholder for those crocheters out there! If the universe cooperates, I’ll have those for you next week!

Have a great week!🌸🌸🌸

Hugs,

Thanks for making my day by SHARING!!


6 Comments

  1. Catharine Dumpich

    July 18, 2022 at 10:42 am

    I have been casually reading your blog and enjoying it for some time. Today’s made me feel akin with you. I related to almost everything you talked about and felt some sort of comradery. Thanks 😺
    P.S. I am a Weaver and knitter but having some lazy days.

    Reply
    • lynn

      July 21, 2022 at 10:16 am

      Good Morning Catharine!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to send in your kind comment and to read my blog. I do love this job I’ve created, but it is all the more enjoyable knowing that there are folks on the other end who enjoy or get some benefit from my ramblings. And it is always lovely to meet a kindred spirit! I’ve never ventured into knitting, but really would love to some day. I’m a little intimidated by needing a loom! Do you have different size looms?

      And everyone needs some lazy days! That’s what recharges our batteries.

      Thanks again for your kind comments!

      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  2. Juanita Taylor

    July 18, 2022 at 2:51 pm

    Whew! There was quite a bit to take in, but loved it all. Wrote down a few book titles. Would love to see your music playlist, although I am mostly country, with a little JLo, Adele, and a few others thrown in. My nails are a mess since chemo, so always looking for a fix. For pills, I use a pill thingie (mind just went blank) from CVS that has the days of the week, use one for morning pills and one for evening pills. Works good for me.
    Well, hope you have a great week, we are redoing a pathway in our backyard, took out about 3yards of gravel and putting pavers in. Wish me luck that I will be able to move after😁

    Reply
    • lynn

      July 21, 2022 at 10:20 am

      Good Morning Friend!

      It was alot, wasn’t it! 🙄😁 Sometimes I just can’t help myself! I LOVE Adele! Did you see her most recent concert on television? I can’t remember what station it was on, but she is so very talented. And I will ALWAYS be a Waylon Jennings fan. We lived just outside of Nashville when my kids were younger and I would regularly take them by his house…they could sing ‘Only Daddy that’ll Walk the Line’ as well as their ABC’s!

      Chemo takes a toll on everything, doesn’t it? Try this collagen, I’m truly surprised how much better my nails and feet are. And thanks for the pill recommendation…love ideas like that.

      Hope your paver project went well! I’m sure it will look fantastic!

      Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  3. Lori

    July 19, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Lynn,
    I just love your blog! I’ve been following it for some time now. I sent you some photos of the bean bag dolls I made based on your design and you also gave me some recommendations on things to do in Wilmington when I was coming out from New Mexico to see my son!

    We’ll it turns out we have very similar tastes in books. The Lincoln Highway, A Gentleman in Moscow, Rules of Civility and The Elegance of the Hedgehog are all books that are in my top 20.

    I was hesitant to start Cloud Cuckoo Land because I also typically don’t like futuristic books, but if you liked it, I bet I will too!

    Here are a few more books that I have really enjoyed. Maybe you will too!
    • The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
    • A Man Called Ove
    • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
    • Authenticity Project
    • Elegance of a Hedgehog
    • West With Giraffe

    Next of my list of new recipes to try is your smoked tomato jam!
    As you can tell, I really do love you blog!
    Lori

    Reply
    • lynn

      July 21, 2022 at 10:08 am

      Hi Lori! Of coure I know you and your oh-so-cute sachet dolls. Did you make them for friends for Valentine’s Day?

      I love finding readers with similar interests! One of my ‘stressors’ is not having a book queue! I read A Man Called Ove, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and just finished the Elegance of the Hedgehog and loved them all, so will be putting those others on my library queue.

      I feel I must reciprocate. One of my favorites is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Also Cider House Rules and the Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell. Have you read any of these?

      And I’m pretty sure you are going to LOVE that Smoked Tomato Jam. I am currently out of it and feeling the need to get busy making more. I just need to stay home a bit to get it down.

      Thanks so much for being such a loyal blog friend! I love this little job, but it wouldn’t be near as much fun without folks like you on the other end of my musings.

      Many Hugs!

      Lynn

      Reply

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