Saturday, December 3, 2016

Office Christmas Gifts

I am set with my holiday office gifts and the massive lot of oatmeal and cranberry soap is wrapped up.  I'm dropping these on people's desks when I get in Monday morning.  My crushing workload has me in at 7AM, a couple of hours before most people, so I'll be a sneaky elf.  I figured early December works because we've had the company Christmas party and not all folks are Christian.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dog Tails

This is my Teddy at 6 weeks.  I can't believe she is over eight and a half years old now!  I am in denial that she is getting older but of course, she is now my age in dog years.... so she is no longer a puppy.  But don't tell her that!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tabletop - Yellow, Green & White

 This is our table setting for tonight.  We're having Jim (from the Art of Gardening) and his wife (blogless & my BFF) over.  I have made the spinach salad appetizer and TBG is making Alton Brown's meatless stronganoff, featuring portobello mushrooms.  Earlier today, I baked an apple pie for dessert.  Our table is yellow and green, using thrift store, dollar store, Pier 1, supermarket (Wegmans), heirloom and modern bone china, plus every day stainless steel flatware elements.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

My Fabulous Life - Tabletop Update

We are eating off the white bone china set I ordered a couple of months back and I wanted to give an update.  I love it!  I wish I had done this sooner.  The  plates and mugs are wonderful.  They are slim so a lot fits in a small space -- great when you have only one cabinet to store it all.  Their size also means filling the dishwasher is simple too.  No clunky mugs on the top level, slim plates below -- and when one piece hits another, they don't chip.  Once in the past, I had a set of Pfatlzgraf  that started chipping almost immediately.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Dream or Reality - A New Bed

I see pretty rooms in magazines and catalogues and would love to have a picture perfect home.  The reality of it, is that I never feel like it's worth it to lay out a lot of money for the sake of decorating.  My dream is to have a well furnished home, but the truth is that I am cheap.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Office Gifts

I stumbled upon the perfect holiday gift for my office-mates.  The department I am working in now is comprised of around 16 people.  Men, women, young, middle aged -- and me (old).  Perusing the Dollar Tree today, looking for liquid soap, I saw a bin of these Shugar Soapworks bars in Oatmeal & Cranberry.  Alas, I didn't find a liquid soap I liked.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Birds & Bucks

I have this bad habit.  If I see something I love that I know I will never have a chance to get my hands on again, I buy it.  Even if it's something I have no use for.  I also have another bad habit (OK, I have lots of them).  I buy stuff I would love for other people to have even if I know it is not something they'd buy for themselves.  This picture is a case in point.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Don't Let Fear Sabotage Your Future

Fear can be a potent motivator.  Sometimes that's good, and other times it works against us.

I am fearful of growing old in poverty, so I save and invest.  While the fear motivates me, I do not let it sidetrack me.  Studies of the fight-or-flight instinct genetically encoded into our brains has shown to have a negative impact on investing.  Rather than riding out ups and downs of the stock market, those who panic pull out when prices drop. If they want back in, they wait until the market looks better -- and end up buying at higher prices.  If those funds had been left in place, they would have realized gains during the rebound that followed.  Continuing to invest during market dips means we are buying low and will realize gains later.   Balancing our investments help us spread the risk so that not everything tanks at the same time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Saving Maven

Everyone who knows me, knows that I am obsessive about saving.  As amazing as it may seem, now that it's time for me to choose my benefits (health insurance, etc.), I get excited.  My employer offers a defined contribution -- they give you money and you elect the benefits you want.  Sure, I have to pay some of the expense myself, but with some analysis, my choices provide me with a great deal.  Perhaps I drink the benefits Kool-Aide as I set up health care exchanges for a living right now.  I see how employers struggle to do right for their people and how they look evil no matter what because they can't give benefits away for free.  Not to start a political debate, but health care reform was a good thing -- and it has potential to get better.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Small Habits

I have been bringing my lunch to work for years.  Each year as my pay increases, my frugal habits mostly stay the same.  These days I'm willing to spend a little more money on convenience items like bagged salad or boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Saving time is important and if spending a bit more to make my lunch adds to the grocery bill, I still feel I come out ahead.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Age and Reinvention

We had an awesome team outing on Thursday night after work -- a local brewery tour, followed by dinner.  I had been feeling odd being the old lady at work but things are really working out.  Being social with a group that is so much younger had me a bit intimidated, but it was all in my head.  I had something in common with everyone and it was so much fun.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Humble Abode

Life in our humble abode isn't exactly picture perfect.  Right now, we are challenged to keep it clean as I'm not as  mobile as I'd like to be, we're both working a ton of hours, and we have weekends at camp to take up our time.  The thing is with a small house, more of it gets lived in so it gets ratty real fast.  However, it also takes less time to clean it up.  I can't imagine how much worse off we'd be if we had twice as much space.  Wait, we've been there and done that!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Living the Real Life

My new job is a big challenge, and I think I've posted about that.  It was a good increase in salary and I'm coming to realize it pays as well as it does because it's hard work. It is no fantasy job.  I get into work with a list of things to do that I've put together at the end of the prior day.  Then I start on that list and all sorts of other events take place and I have to address a ton more things.  By 10AM I am overwhelmed.  Then I just start a list going and dive into whatever I can.  Sometimes I prioritize, other times I look at something small that isn't as important but just do it so I can get it done.  By the end of the day, I manage to get 95% of what I was supposed to do done, in spite of it being stuff I wasn't even aware of before I got to work.  Sometimes I think my motto should be "Plug and Chug," just take in the work, plug away at it and chug on to something else.  This goes on for five days straight, then it's the weekend and I've got two days to sleep in.  Yeah!
The work I do is project related (I'm a project manager right now). I don't manage people in a supervisory role, but I do manage processes and see that work gets done.  My PM colleagues are all ages, gender and have a variety of personalities.  No two of us are the same.  We all have a lot of work to do, and we all get it done.  My company is expanding so I can guess our ranks will just continue to grow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

End of the Season Basil

With temperatures dipping towards freezing earlier in the week, I was desperate to save some of my basil.  Three plants were the size of bushes and there was no way I was going to let that much wither away from the cold.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Jewelry Cleaner

I love my bling!  The only way to really justify how much I own, is that I only buy it when it's a real deal.  Just because I get it as discount, doesn't mean it's not worth taking care of.  The thing is, jewelry cleaner can be pricey and just isn't a priority purchase for me.  That's why I make my own.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Stock Again

This week there were a lot of left-over tomatoes and of course an over abundance of basil from the garden.  We've got tons of it and one of the high priority items for me is to cut it all and preserve it for the winter.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Going Nuts

Are you crazy for nuts? As a daily consumer of nuts, sometimes it's hard to pull everything together if I'm in a hurry.  Lately, the cabinet where our nuts are stored had become a jumbled mess of bags.  Today, I decided to deal with it.  I put each bag into a jar -- a good plan since I obsessively hoard jars and need to make use them or else they'll pile up to become another jumbled mess!  Of course I didn't have an equal amount of jar space for all of the bags, so I made up a couple of jars of mixed nuts -- pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds.  This is a mixture I love over salads and also eat every morning.  A typical morning meal for me is a multi-grain english muffin, peanut/almond butter, chia seeds, jam, and mixed nuts.  Each day I've been opening a bag of each and pulling a few out.  Now all I'll have to do is reach into the jar.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

28 Years

The Big Guy and I can tick off another anniversary.  We are now at 28 and I'm even happier with him today than I was in 1988.  Anyone who know the TBG, knows he was a great catch and I'm one lucky gal.  We've been through a lot together and he is stuck with me for life.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Cover it Up

I love reading Finger Lakes magazine.  We always have a copy or two kicking around camp.  Inside, there are gorgeous pictures of Adirondack style camps.  They are decorated to perfection.  The adds for cabinetry and furniture are drool-worthy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Out With the Old, In with the New

It was time to sort through our collection of cloth napkins and refresh the stash.  There were styles and colors that represented different phases of our table-top lives and while many were still in good condition, others were quite ratty.  Ready for a change, last week I grabbed 12 cloth napkins found while perusing the clearance shelves at Wegmans.  Wegmans carries a plethora of tabletop accoutrements that are decent quality and designed to be cycled out of merchandise at the end of every season.  Trolling their clearance merchandise is one of my favorite activities.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

T-Shirt Tradition

Every year we celebrate the passing of Labor Day by purchasing camp t-shirts. Unlike lake tourists who buy shirts to commemorate their stay, those of us who stay seasonally like to wait until after the traditional end-of summer holiday to buy our duds.  Once the summer hits its traditional end, the local souvenir shop starts marking down.  Most of us regulars don't have an appetite for any of this stuff until it's at least 40 percent off.  

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Summer on a Plate

It would appear I am obsessed with plates as of late.  I like them when they're empty, but I love them when they're full!  During the summer months, I love to eat fruit for dinner.  The more colorful the contents on your plate, the better.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Drinking Responsibly

One of the joys of summer is drinking a cold glass of iced tea with plenty of ice.  I understand ice isn't nearly as popular in other parts of the world, but Americans love their ice and I am no exception.  Fresh home-brewed iced tea is my favorite because I can mix up my own special flavor blends.  Right now, I am favoring white jasmine, green, lemon and ginger mixed together.  The glass pictured above is that mixture along with a small portion of a bottle from the supermarket.  The Big Guy hosted a BBQ last week and the half jug in our refrigerator was not going to be consumed in its "natural" state because we hate all of the sugar in the manufactured beverage.  By using a variety of teabag flavors, I can brew a concentrated cup of whatever combination I like, add just enough sugar, then balance it out with plain filtered water.  For this week's batch, I filled plastic pitchers with 1/3 of the supermarket stuff, five ounces of my concentrate, then filled the rest with water.  Including the half jug of supermarket tea I started with, I now have two gallons of iced tea on deck waiting to be enjoyed this week.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Old/New, High/Low

 I love the versatility of the new plain white bone china we are using for our everyday tabletop.  The plate to the left is Mikasa "Solitude" which we registered for approximately 30 years ago.  I picked it because I thought it had a timeless look.  Yes, it does look a little bit "80's and the pattern is now discontinued, but there are still new patterns like it designed today.  It isn't too fussy but it does look "fancy." You can't easily tell the difference between old and new here.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Common Grounds

I have not yet, nor will I likely become, a Keurig fan.  Yes, I've used them -- the break room at my old office had one and I would bring my own K-Cups in.  But with each cup I brewed, I died a little inside.  It's not just the cost, it's the wasteful packaging.  More than that, it's the flavor. To me, the best brew comes out of a percolator -- the older, the better.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Give Me the Bone!

China, that is.  For dinnerware, bone china is my first choice.  In it's purest form, it's white, translucent, streamlined, durable and neutral.  Are you looking for an everyday dinnerware solution that can be dressed up, dressed down, put in the dishwasher and microwave, that looks good on just about any table?  Then consider going with white bone china for your tabletop.

When we first moved to our small house, I enjoyed eating on our fine china on a daily basis.  The big drag was that it couldn't be cleaned in the dishwasher.  Our formal pattern has a silver rim which makes it impossible to microwave and unsuitable for the dishwasher.  In order to save space in our cabinets, I moved on to clear glass plates, bowls and mugs.  That made sense at the time because they were affordable, durable and essentially "neutral" in color and design.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Taking Off Again

Changing course can be a scary thing.  Conventional wisdom and human nature favor risk avoidance.  But at what point is risk avoidance an obstacle rather than a strategy?  It's an obstacle when it is an impediment to growth.  Being willing to toss out and move forward, common sense be damned, can be tough if you're a comfort junky.  I like to be safe and comfortable but am too ambitious to live my life that way in the long run.

Monday, August 8, 2016


It has been quite a while since I've posted to my blog and appreciate those who noted concern over my absence.  Having lost the ability to store more images as well as a major change in life direction, it would seem the old blog was no longer a representation of the type of life being led at Chez Petite.

One of my major goals of this year was to recover from a few orthopedic surgeries.  Convalescence and disability leave provided time for professional reflection.  In an effort to market myself and my skills, I spent time creating a professional website:  Building the site took time and effort which prevented me from attending to this blog.  The time paid off -- I start on a new career path next week.

An updated look and a slightly different view on life will be evident going forward.  I still hope to cultivate and retain blogging friendships from the past.  The past four years of blog material have been wiped out and I'm starting with mostly a clean slate going forward.  If anyone's sticking with me, thanks for your patience, I'm working my way back!