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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

Enjoying January

Initially I planned to title this post Surviving January, but that seems to be setting a rather low standard.  Better instead to enjoy this month of post-holiday celebration and excess.  The last couple of months of the year engage all the senses all the time, so January may seem rather abrupt in its stark simplicity.  With that in mind, here are some ideas to make the rest of the month, well, enjoyable.

Paperwhites are lovely to look at, and they have a distinct fragrance as well.  If you didn’t force your own bulbs, you can still buy the potted flowers at most florists and some groceries.  Crocus and hyacinth are available in some areas, too, and these have a milder scent than the paperwhites.

paperwhites white flower farm

Lemons brighten up some spots where Christmas decorations once caught my eye.  I use preserved ones in the front hall and family room.  Real ones in the kitchen.  Ina Garten, the beloved Barefoot Contessa, swears by drizzling lemon over almost everything to “brighten” the flavor.  Drizzle lightly.


Another bright spot for the Mister and me is ruby red grapefruit.  One for breakfast; half for lunch in salad—maybe with avocado; and half for dessert after dinner.  Heavenly.

grapefruit salad

Now, for comfort, cashmere socks.  Without a doubt these are on my top ten list of gifts to give and to receive.  For outside, add boots with a reasonable heel, which in my case means practically none, and walk tall.

cashmere socksfrye-paige-riding-boot,-$334_99 

Another item for comfort is a great handcream.  Neutrogena’s Norwegian formula is terrific—soothing and protective.  The Mister relies on it.  I love it, too, and use it faithfully before bed.  Throughout the day, though, I like something a little lighter, and my new favorite is L’Occitane’s Shea Butter hand cream.  I have one in my handbag and one in my top desk drawer.  My favorite scent is Acacia.

hand cream

If you’re staying in, then perhaps you need to check out It's a Golden Day and enter Bevy’s pink and green monogrammed snuggie giveaway!  She sure looks cozy!

And, finally, to truly enjoy January, I say Let’s eat up all that leftover Christmas chocolate!



  1. Oh yes! Enjoying the chocolate without the stress! YUM!

    I dont think I have ever seen cashmere socks...I am going to have to look for them when I am in the city!

  2. How lovely and cheerful. Just what I needed:).

  3. I don't have the cashmere sock, but my husband does... and as soon as I finish, I'm going into his sock drawer!

    Then later, I am going to Hobby Lobby to buy some non-perishable (as opposed to fake LOL) lemons. I already have the flowers "forcing" along!

    Thanks for advertising my giveaway. Isn't it funny? I couldn't resist!

    Lastly, I would love you to come down to Aiken! How fun would a nice lunch downtown be? Tons!

  4. The nice thing about January for us is it's one of the few months we don't have sports or holiday activities to worry about. I love that things finally calm down for us. I don't think we have had a free weekend with absolutely nothing going on since last April!

  5. I am all for the leftover chocolate!
    What a lovely list, perfect for all those days we are stuck inside, especially those luxe cashmere socks!

  6. I love cashmere socks and INA. But the L'Occtaine lotion I find to greasy at the keyboard.

    LOVE your blog!



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