The FOREVER giveaway...

The other day I clicked a link on a blog, then another...and one more-until I was lost in blog land. I came across this utterly delightful website called THE BRIGHT SIDE PROJECT.
In a day where the economy and world news is rarely positive.. this site delivers a "Daily dose of sunshine!" I love their mission: " The Bright Side Project is here to bring you sunshine every day with themed, daily giveaways. We hope to inspire you to stop for a second and remember life is (still) beautiful and there is goodness in the world." So hop on over and enter to win one of their great giveaways and spread a little sunshine yourself today! (The photos are just a couple of the fabulous gifts you can win!)


Most Unfriendly Shopkeeper Award Goes To... (Not Bob's Red Mill)

The other day I took advantage of something that rarely happens in my life. I had five whole hours to myself. It felt like I won lottery! I had a long "to do" list but selfishly decided to do something for myself. The laundry could wait, the post office would open again the next day-My husband, kids and grand baby were otherwise occupied...
I woke up and hit the floor running, made a double coffee and headed out. I knew right where I was going. It was a forty minute drive- but I didn't care. There was a little shop I was dying to visit. I had tried before but showed up on a day they were closed. I had peeked in the window and couldn't wait to take pictures to share with you. I took the right exit off the highway and then turned on the wrong road. A hour and a half later I walked through the doors. It was everything I thought it would be. But better! The shop was very small but arranged so perfectly, you could stand in one place for a half hour-gazing. As I reached for my camera It occurred to me - the polite thing to do to would to be ask if I could take some pictures so I could rant and rave on my blog about them. Before the friendly girl behind the counter could utter a word, I heard a emphatic "NO!" from around the corner. There was a awkward pause and she said "I guess not." The owner (I assume) poke her head in the room for a second and then disappeared again. No pleasant Hello, No friendly welcome, No apologetic "I am paranoid people will copy my ideas, but thank you anyway."
I took a moment to recover. Doesn't the old saying go "even bad publicity is good publicity?" Mine would have been reeeealy good! I purchased a few items and left the store. I will not mention the name of the store, but if you are ever in the Milwaukee OR. area...enter at your own risk!
Thankfully that wasn't the end of my day. I had passed another store I had wanted to visit for almost as long! As you know, my husband is a world class bread baker. So Bob's Red Mill held more the a little interest for me. (specialty flour and foods) Besides, by now I was hungry. I pulled into a overflowing parking lot, drove around...and then again... and finally parked on the street.
As I entered my senses were overwhelmed. Should I shop first- or eat at the delightful cafe? Since I had only coffee, I opted for breakfast. (served all day) My guy can wake up and eat spaghetti or a corn dog, but there is a certain order to life. Breakfast, Lunch then dinner. I was still on breakfast. I placed my order then wandered down the aisles. Everywhere I looked there were specialty flours and mixes- I was sure even the most elementary cook could conquer. Hot cereal, gluten free, a bit of this and a bit of that. A cookbook section, pre-made bread and cookies, specialty cookware...I could go on and on. And it all felt so....healthy. So special(ty)
I sat down to eat my perfectly cooked eggs with "home made bread." This is the part where the contrast between stores was glaring. I heard my server say to someone at the table next to me- "Bob, these guests would like to speak to you." True story! He may not be in the pages of US Weekly, but here, Bob was just as much a celebrity as...Leo DiCaprio! He stood from his meal, walked around the table and shook hands with his customers. They shared a laugh or two and when they were done- he cleared his table. If you're not from our parts, Bob's Red Mill products are usually found in the health food or natural isles of your grocery store.
As I shoveled the last few bites of food into my mouth, I decided I WOULD take a picture with this friendly Atelier Bob. I stood up, reached for my bag- and turned as he walked away. I didn't want to chase him down but I definitely knew I would not only mention him, I would bring my family and friends back. Besides, you can tour the flour mill/factory and that is something I would love to do! Here's to Bob! He doesn't know it but he restored my faith in the kindness of man! AND that is why I was the only customer in the other shop, and had to park in the street at Bob's!
Visit and order online here at Bob's Red Mill.


Re-gifting? Priceless.

Now you have the perfect excuse (in case you need one) to donate your unwanted items. And another excuse (in case you need one) to go treasure hunting. The Re-Gifting Store opened this week in Vancouver. Instead of giving to other over priced thrift stores (Goodwill, anyone?) Consider giving to this shop where ALL of the proceeds are given to local charities. The pictures are of some of the items in the store. Right now they are having a clothing drive to benefit Open House Ministries and underprivileged children in our community. The kids will be able to come in and shop for school clothes at no charge. This can make a tremendous difference in their lives. Giving your time is a great gift as well, volunteers are needed for pricing and display- and you get first Dibs! Please help a great cause and mention the store on your blogs!
2635 MacArthur Blvd. Vancouver, WA 98662 (360) 606-2820 (Hey bloggers, do you upload your pictures or post first? I seem to be battling both to get them to land where I want.)


My Guilty Pleasure...

Tonight at 7pm is the season opener of Bravo's Flipping out. I discovered it a couple of years ago and was instantly hooked. As far as reality shows go, this one is on the top of my list! It centers around Jeff- who buys run down houses in California and remakes them into stunning homes. But that's not what gets me. I watch in awe and disbelief (and many laughs) because he is the MOST particular, perfectionists EVER to walk the planet. Heaven forbid one of his staff screws something up. Water bottles turned exactly in one direction, his pets get massages and NOTHING is out of place ever, not in his home, not in his life. That's an impossible standard, right? Thus the double meaning behind "Flipping Out." Jeff''s episodes of outrage are usually controlled but...shall we say very direct? Seeing is believing. Watch it and let me know what you think. You can catch back episodes on bravotv.com. By the way, did I mention he is gorgeous? P.S. I also Tivo The Real Housewives of Orange County and TRH of New York. There. I admitted it. I am a reality show junkie.


Why? Just Because.

I was shuffling through some pictures the other day and came across this one. We were driving through a small town in Idaho and I had to stop and take this random picture. I have a thing for vintage advertising stuff and this old tow truck next to the shop just struck me. I wonder if they actually use it still?


Not Your Mother's Hula Hoop!

I've had a few pieces of exercise equipment that became exactly what my husband said they would: Clothes Hangers. I have high hopes for the latest fitness craze-hooping. I can do this, right? My hoop came in the mail last week, I was surprised at how BIG it was. You could fit at least three people inside it. Maybe it's not as easy as it looks! Yes, a week has gone by and I haven't started yet. Just waiting for my DVD's to arrive in the mail! I wonder if I will look like the girl in the picture.... What is Hoopnotica? Hoopnotica is an energizing, fat-burning cardio and muscle-sculpting hoop dance workout that is endlessly FUN, creative and sexy! Using an adult size hoop and blending hooping with elements of dance, hoop dance is easy to learn and great for boosting your mood and reducing stress. Will Hoopnotica help me lose weight? Absolutely! Hooping tones the muscles of the core and the entire body while also providing an intense cardiovascular workout, burning between 400 and 600 calories an hour, all at no to low impact to your joints. Most students who practice Hoopnotica regularly notice changes in their bodies within just a few weeks. Are your hoops weighted? Yes, our Fitness Hoops are weighted at 1.5 lbs. perfect for getting a core toning, muscle strengthening workout AND a high intensity, fat burning cardiovascular workout all in one! Visit http://www.hoopnotica.com/ for details!


What NOT to say at a garage sale

I have purchased several vintage bikes over the years. The one in the photo was the last one I bought. I have never paid over $25.00. (all from my secret garage sale route) Last weekend My husband and I stopped at a sale. I spied the old white bike before we got out of the car and I announced to him "It's mine!" I checked out the price tag then did a once over on their goods. It really was the only thing worth buying. Since I always figure it doesn't hurt to try, I asked the guy if he wood take less for it. He hemmed and hawed and finally said "I might if you're a serious buyer." I wondered why I had to be serious, couldn't it just be good fun? "Would you take $20.00?" I asked? (down from $25.00) At first he looked stupefied then he looked a bit angry. Then came a long rant about it being 4o years old, he rode it on a paper route-it held a lot of meaning for him...As I listened to him I thought ""Wow, he does take it serious, but seriously-if he was so attached, why is he selling it?
When he took a breath, I said "OK, I will pay $25.00." By now he was outraged. "It's worth $2,500" he said loudly enough for the other shoppers to get interested in our discussion. " I should have it priced way higher then $250.00 but it needs a little work." I looked at my embarrassed husband who gave me the eye that said "let's get out of here." Somehow I had missed the extra little $0 on the tag -but I was starting to feel offended, why couldn't he just have said from the get go that I had read it wrong? My husband could see I was working up a return lecture for the guy (Norah, if you are reading this-are you surprised?) and guided me to the car mid sentence. I was a little embarrassed and I wouldn't normally argue over someones treasure...But did he have to make it look like I was trying to rip him off? Note to self: never make a offer without first asking the price. Note to self: next time don't be so cheap, I would have paid $25.00 for it no problem.


Can Blogging for Bliss turn into a addiction?

I think so. Just ask my husband! In the short time I have been blogging, I have seen a a few bloggers I love decide to take a break. They will be missed and I hope they come back soon! It sends a great message to me: Love it but be able to leave it for a moment! I haven't begun to touch on all the blogs I want to visit. AND keep up with. I even get up early to check things out in blog land! Here's to finding balance! Having said that, I am going to take advantage of Grandma's bragging rights. Meet Mr. Emori, the light of our lives. At 2, This handsome guy keeps us all on our toes! Watch out world! He is standing next to a cherubic (just like him...) column that I found last weekend-while feeding my other addiction...junking. I think it's safe to say blogging and junking go hand in hand. Congrats Tara, on your book I read from start to finish in almost one sitting! In celebration most items in my shop will be 20% off today!


Kingdoms would topple over this

And warriors would do battle. O.K., perhaps that is a slight exaggeration. A few years back- one long winter day, my husband decided to make bread. He produced 2 perfect loaves of piping hot goodness that disappeared in minutes. This was the start of a mission to become a artisan bread maker. For months hardly a day went by without the delectable aroma of fresh bread-taunting me to resist it's magic pull. Sourdough, French, Pugaliese...you name it, I have been the willing guinea pig. Operative word here, pig. I had to admit despite the wonder of it all, it didn't look good on my hips. I begged him to stop-which he eventually did. There is one little number that has kept me battling good versus evil. What you don't know from the photo is this foccacia bread is filled with sweet basil, Gorgonzola and mozzarella cheese. It's chewy and smooth all at the same time. Is it wrong to be in love with foccacia bread? The jewel in the crown is the rosemary poked and baked into the top of the bread. Sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil, it is a meal in itself. I have been known to devour (almost) a whole loaf. Did I just admit that? My congenial guy has been asked and delivered enough for an entire wedding reception. Now if I can just get him to create a zero fat, zero calorie version.