The Number One Beauty Secret

Here's a riddle for you:

Kate, my new daughter in law, has a big, gorgeous smile. Kate is 24.



Christy Brinkley also has a big, gorgeous smile. She recently turned 60.


What do these two beautiful women have in common?

How to Make Old Grout Look New

I love bathrooms in historic old hotels. The materials are classic and substantial. I love the look of an old fashioned white pedestal sink with deep moldings, simple white tile, and marble floors. No matter how many times those floors have been mopped, their patina just makes them more gorgeous with age.

Bathroom of the Regent Suite at © The Langham, London.

Just a few years ago we remodeled an old bathroom. I splurged on Cararra marble for the floor.

I left it up to the contractor to select the grout. Big mistake.

He installed the marble tiles with an off white grout. It looked great for about five minutes. Then normal traffic started making the grout look really dingy. I tried cleaning with various products, and even sprayed it with bleach. Nothing helped. I was the only one who knew the bathroom floor was clean.

Eventually the grout became this icky rust color. It looked terrible against the marble tiles. I had to do something.

The World's Greatest Shower Head

It's no secret that I love to travel.

When other people are reading interesting articles on line, or saving recipes, or "pinning" their favorite decorating pictures on Pinterest, I'm reading reviews on Tripadvisor, dreaming of a little inn overlooking the Mediterranean.

Everyone has different criteria for rating a hotel 5 stars. I want a convenient location, good coffee, and free wifi in addition to a comfortable bed and a spotless room. (A view of the Eiffel Tower doesn't hurt, either.) If, as a bonus, the shower has great water pressure, I'm in heaven!

I'm very spoiled when it comes to water pressure. The heavy stream that comes out of my shower is wonderful. But it hasn't always been that way. My bathroom is the furthest from the water source, and my water pressure was so bad I could barely rinse all of the shampoo out of my hair.

My friend Carl came up with the solution.

My Favorite Skin Care Nugget

It's amazing what we'll do to have nice skin!

Can I brag a little?

I've been getting the nicest compliments on my skin. Surprisingly, I received one after a long day of cooking and cleaning for a party. I was generally exhausted. So exhausted I didn't bother to wear any make up. I was doing well to greet my guests in clothes that didn't smell like Mr. Clean mixed with gravy. But several guests commented on how great my skin looked. Hmm.

Fast forward a few months to a recent get together with some of my friends. One exclaimed, “You look GREAT! What are you using on your skin?” Several others chimed in that they were thinking the same thing.

I’d like to tell you that I have been working really hard doing research, trying out every department store and drugstore product out there, and I have found THE ONE. Nope. It was much easier than that.

I stumbled on something quite by accident.

The Perfect Solution to Ironing


I have friends whom I call The Perfects.

Mrs. Perfect is a gorgeous, six foot tall personal trainer and a great mom. She's sweet, funny, generous, and a loyal friend.

Mr. Perfect is a handsome, brilliant, very successful attorney who is also a gourmet cook. He loves children and dogs. He gets weepy at the thought of grandchildren someday.

The Perfects have three perfect children. The oldest was Valedictorian in high school and top in her class in med school. She is strikingly beautiful. Her sister, also Valedictorian, was recruited by one of the top MBA programs in the country, and is right up there in looks with Mama and Sis. Little Brother Perfect is good looking, popular, smart, and is destined to be every bit as successful as his sisters.  Oh, and did I mention that he is a valedictorian as well?

Exceptional good looks and brains obviously run in the family. But so do good values and generous hearts. And the kids? Well, they are just not normal party loving young people destined to learn about life the hard way. Nope, the Perfect girls came home for the holidays and spent their vacation cooking with dad and making a gingerbread house the exact replica of the family home. Makes you kind of sick, huh?

I had dinner with Mr. and Mrs. P one night and we were discussing domestic matters, specifically sheet thread counts, fabrics, etc. Mrs. P told me they had ordered wonderful bamboo sheets (that I have yet to try, perhaps when I do they will be worthy of a nugget) that are incredibly soft and well worth the price.

Then she hit me with it. I still can't believe it.

Anti-Anxiety: What's In and Out

My friend B smokes, but she is not a smoker.

After dinner, she quietly goes to her purse, disappears, and finds a private place to smoke one cigarette.

She relishes the relaxing effect the nicotine has on her. She totally enjoys every drag. Smoking puts her in a peaceful mood. During a few short minutes, B's cigarette gives her a calming respite to a stressful day.

But she doesn't want anyone to know.

Smoking is so yesterday.


Golden Locks From a Box

Does she or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.




If you are old enough to remember that ad, you are old enough to remember when stylists were called hairdressers.

The ad was referring to coloring hair, not confessing sexual escapades to your hair stylist.

Is it true blonds have more fun? Be a blond and see!



This ad was a real downer for brunettes.  It featured the poor wallflower with brown hair, all alone in the corner, while the vivacious Marilyn Monroe look alike was getting all kinds of play from a group of frat boys.

The brunette goes home, bleaches her mousy locks, and guess what! The boys start swarming!

Wow. You've come a long way, Baby.

A Decadent Treat for Cavemen

My doctor put me on a diet.

I wasn't overweight, but my cholesterol was sky high.  She suggested I try the Paleo Diet.

The Paleo diet is also called the Caveman Diet. Basically, you can only eat what was available to cavemen. It's "low carb" only much worse. No wheat, oatmeal, rice, beans (!), starches, sugar or dairy. No peanut butter, no popcorn. What? What do you mean, no popcorn?

Some people thought I was crazy. My friend Patty dryly commented that cavemen had a life expectancy of about 25.



I decided I would try a very modified version for a few months to see what happened. I changed the wording from "no" to "try to avoid." I stocked the fridge with things from the accepted Paleo list-- fruit, veggies, hard boiled eggs, lean meats. I made a lot of protein shakes with almond milk. And I allowed myself to have popcorn.

After much research, I was delighted to read that a few of my guilty pleasures were allowed on the Paleo Diet. Almonds, I love almonds. And it seems the cavemen had dark chocolate! Who knew?

My biggest challenge was dessert. I am not one who considers fruit as dessert. I am the person who eats two pieces of cake at weddings. To me, cookies are a food group. My favorite Italian food is gelato.

But I satisfied my sweet tooth with a special treat that even a caveman would love......

Nuggets of Inspiration

My friend Ellie is an inspiration.

Her ever positive spirit has given her the strength to fight a life threatening illness. Not once. Not twice.

Three times.

Most people don't have to deal with Ellie's hardships even once in a lifetime. And yet Ellie feels she is so lucky. Lucky to have a body that has fought and won during impossible odds. Lucky to have friends and family who support her. Lucky to be alive.

Ellie enjoys life to the fullest despite hardships no one should have to bear. She loves to travel. She loves to read. She loves good linens, the perfect cup of coffee, and a shower head with great water pressure. She loves music, movies, and a great pair of boots. Everyday things give her joy, every day.

I have found a couple of great nuggets that will inspire you to look at life the way Ellie does.

A Shopping Gold Mine


When I was a little girl my mother made all of my clothes.

I hated my "homemade" clothes. Why couldn't we go to the store and buy clothes like normal people? Why did I have to spend Saturday afternoons feeling fabrics and picking out patterns, when other girls were buying the latest fashions in a real department store? And could I plu-eze have a "real" sweater, instead of one that my mother knit for me?

Today, I would kill for one of my mother's carefully stitched creations.

Now, "homemade" has become "handmade." Mass merchandising can't touch the quality and uniqueness of an item made with care by a real person.

If you stop by any well organized, high quality art and craft show on a Sunday afternoon, you'll see how popular handmade items have become. Original art, jewelry, quilts, clothing, pottery, candles, furniture.....the list of beautiful handmade items is endless.

A while back, my daughter Sarah introduced me to a website where you can easily shop for any handmade item you can imagine. It's called www.etsy.com.