A Day At a Time

We were slammed today at Country Roads, "slammed" meaning very busy. My feet hurt, my brain hurts, I can't tell anyone else where the bathroom is and I'm just tired! But more importantly, I'm "grateful" once again for having a busy day. There is so much negativity floating around in the air, especially about retail. But it's kind of like life. What you put into it, you get out of it! I remind myself how hard I've worked, how hard my staff and dealers work and know that we've created a store that is a destination for shoppers, a store people want to shop and visit as they have for the past 17 years! And I'm very thankful that my feet hurt, that my brain hurts and I don't have to tell anyone else tonight where the bathroom is!! You know, it's just a day at a time, it's that easy. I love the quote below, and have it posted next to my desk:
“One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”

So,I'm off to kick off my shoes, have a cold Corona, and remind myself again, I've got some really awesome customers out there. I'm thankful and appreciative to each and everyone of them!


Just Hangin Out With My Kids

Today was one of those days that reminded me why I love living here. The sun was out, it was warm and clear and I spent the afternoon with my kids. Brande lives in Seal Beach and Riley had swim lessons which were also in Seal Beach, so we spent the afternoon there. I love the old Seal Beach pier in the picture above. It was so clear today you could see Catalina. A few months back when I went to see Riley swim, I swore I would never go back. She gets great lessons, but I hate when she cries. Well, I went back today and felt the same way as last time I went. She had just woke up from a nap before her lesson, so she was upset in the pool. What is even more hard for me is now she talks as in "help me".Riley was fine and now actually it is kind of funny she was saying that, but it wasn't at the time! What is really cool about this swim school is that if you look at the picture you can see where the little kids either jump from the stand Riley is on or from the edge of the pool and land face down. Then they have been taught to immediately flip over on their back and float so they are safe. I was really excited to see Riley accomplish this since I have a pool at my house and I want her safe. After swim school we walked down to Brande's apartment then down Main Street. Seal Beach has this awesome little Old Towne area with the pier at the end of Main Street. Riley's favorite place is the playground on the beach, and she LOVES when Brande pushes her on the swings! As you can see, Riley loves to swing and swing. Even Katie and I got into the swinging mood, and enjoyed swinging as well, of course you won't see that picture!I think Riley could "swing" all day as long as she had someone to push her. Life doesn't get much better than sitting in a swing on a warm, sunny day on the beach enjoying the ocean breeze, just ask Riley! I KNOW how lucky I am to hang out with my "girls" and Vinnie(my son-in-law) on a Friday afternoon at the beach. Believe me, I don't take that for granite. I've always lived not too far from the beach and there is something magical about the ocean, sand, and sunshine. For awhile you escape all the stress and headaches that life sometimes throws your way. As you swing in the air, with the ocean breeze in your hair, and the sun beginning to set, I'm reminded of Bob Marley's song, Three Little Birds. It goes like this, "don't worry about a thing, cuz every little thing is gonna be alright". I think the smile on Riley's little face says it all.


"Texas Crude"

  I was on a mission today. There is a small room in my garage that kind of turned into a "let's dump everything here room". My Christmas totes were still in there, and a bunch of other stuff as well. I wanted to clean it up so I could get my new treadmill out of the box, and clean off the bowflex! When my son Bryce was small he had a whole collection of Tonka trucks. I saved them after he outgrew them, and I haven't been able to find them for years. I was sure Mr. Wonderful (my ex-husband) had lost them along the way somewhere, somehow! I've bitched and moaned about Mr. Wonderful losing that box of Tonka trucks for years. Well, a couple of months ago Bryce was cleaning out the loft area in the garage we use for storage. And guess what he found? Yep, the whole box of the trucks I had saved. I still blame Mr.Wondeful though because never cared about saving stuff like this and the box did have "pillows" written on the outside of the box! While cleaning up the room in the garage, I unpacked all of Bryce's old Tonka trucks. I had planned to take them out front to hose them off and get them all clean for Riley to play with. As I unpacked the boxes, I found the toy truck that was an oil truck that said, "Texas Crude". I remember my mom, who was born and raised in Temple, Texas, had bought Bryce this truck when he was a little boy, along with a pair of cowboy boots! You see, my mom's dad had been employed as truck driver for an oil company somewhere in Texas. I quickly forgot about still being pissed off at Mr. Wonderful, and thought back to how proud my mom was of her home state of Texas. She died four days after Riley was born, but I know that "she knows" that Riley is now playing with the "Texas Crude" toy truck and is happy Riley will know, from my stories, how proud my mom was of her dad and to be a "Texan"!!
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Just Another Day in the Life of "ME"

Like every morning, my day starts at 6am. I don't want to waste the day so I roll out of bed ready to tackle the day ahead. I had Riley today and also had to go back to Country Roads because we are moving stuff around in the Mercantile building. I wanted to get some work done at home before that all started. You can always tell when my son is working, a trail of Pepsi cans! That is just one photo of our chaos in the store. There are three of my bigger dealers moving around in the same building, Christina Biggerstaff, Gay Anderson, and Ginny DeRosa. So, there is stuff everywhere! There are display pieces everywhere and it looked like someone just "threw up antiques" all over the floor, as in splat! I only had to be there for about an hour, but what an hour. At one point, Riley had my glasses and next thing I knew she had pitched them across the sales floor somewhere. In the middle of all that confusion, I had to walk up to the counter to get something, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw "him". Because when you see "him", something just pulls your eyes in "his" direction. Maybe because "he" is such eye candy! I'm talking about Wentworth Miller, from the Prison Break tv show. He has the most beautiful blue eyes. He comes in from time to time and you try hard not to stare, but its tough. And if you are working at the counter and writing up his order, it's even more difficult not to stare. He's just a damn good looking guy! There is an older post somewhere on my blog that has his picture. After I put my eyes back in my head, it was time for Riley and I to go home and play all day!First we played with blocks on my bedroom floor. Then of course Riley had to make lunch for her buddy Leonard who is always thrilled to see her. I haven't had Riley all day for awhile since her daddy is out on disability because of his back. I see Riley all the time, but its not the same as just hangin out together for the day. We really had a great time. When I carried her out to her daddy's truck this afternoon(she wouldn't walk because she didn't want to leave)Riley had her little arms wrapped tightly around my neck like in the post below of Brande as a baby. And when her daddy put her in the carseat, I saw the tears start rolling down her cheeks from her big blue eyes, it just broke my heart! It is amazing how much we love those little kids, you know that bond we share. It's after 7:30 now and I still have a couple of things I want to get done before I call it a day. It's been a long day, but I don't mind, really. My life is full, productive and I am grateful and blessed to have these kinds of days. So, all and all, it was just another day in the life of "me"!


You Watch Them Grow

That's me and my oldest daughter,Brande about 28 years ago! Awhile ago I had been going through old pictures and trying to organize them when I came across this photo. In this picture Brande resembles Katie's little girl, Riley, SO much. I was really surprised. I look at this photo and I start thinking about the passing of time and how quickly my kids have grown up. I miss those days but I also enjoy the days I now have with them. Now they are all in their 20's. I'm lucky to have each of them be a part of my daily life, including Riley as well. There is this song I love by Zach Gill. He plays with Jack Johnson, and put out one CD which I also love! Here's the lyrics:

She's close to God, I'm sure of that
She sits him down, and they have a chat
She asks for sunshine, and he agrees
You see, for her, He'd do anything

You watch them grow, then you let 'em go

She is a monkey, and I'm her tree
And now she's climbing all over me
Swinging on my vines dancing on my limbs
Her monkey sounds sound like angel's hymns

You watch them grow, then you let 'em go
You watch them grow, then you let 'em go

She's an angel, she's an imp
She's got my big toe, and her mother's lips
She gives fishy kisses, and great big bear hugs
42 pounds of pure love
Then one day she'll be 17, feelin too big for her home
Seems she was just only 3, oh how our children they grow

You watch them grow, then you let 'em go

Then one day she'll be 33, maybe with a child of her own
Seems she was just 17, oh how our children they grow
He'll ask for sunshine, and she'll agree
You see for him, she'd do anything
He is her child, the center of her world
She is his mother. . .my little girl

You watch them grow, then you let 'em go

If you've never heard this song, it's just so sweet and makes you realize how time passes by so quickly. You can find it on itunes. The song always reminds me how fast time really does pass. Seems like it was just yesterday when Brande had her little arms around my neck! And you know, I don't think I'll EVER let any of my baby's go no matter how much I watch them grow!
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The Finished Presentation

This is the finished presentation of one of my kids, Carol Castillo's, space. Although little Carol is not my biological kid, I still love her like I do my own kids! When Carol first got this armoire, it was a small, scratched up unloved walnut armoire. And now look at it! Wouldn't it be beautiful in a baby's room? I love the way she has displayed these colorful florals, especially around the vintage birdcage. Wouldn't you like to curl up next to the fire with a good book on a cold winters night in front of this awesome fireplace & mantle? All of us that know Carol, know what a big fan she is of pink! This buffet or server would add a little romantic elegance in just about any dining room. Just another photo of another great display Carol has put together. You know, Carol is one of the sweetest, most sincere kids that I know! Always positive, always willing to help, and never, ever taking credit for what beautiful displays she knows how to put together, and has been doing for a long time now. I'm SO proud she has finally taken a space big enough to really showcase the talent she has. I have a pretty good feeling you'll be seeing many more photos in the future of Carol's presentations.


Mean People Suck

This picture was taken in my bathroom, yep my bathroom. Each morning as I dry my hair I stare at this architectural piece on the wall. It is from an old windmill. I often wonder how it was saved, how it was salvaged. Who cared enough to rescue a "piece of history". This is why I love my job. Then there are days, like yesterday, that I have my moments when you've been insulted repeatedly because (for example) you wouldn't sell the old guy a decorative waste basket that was priced at 20 bucks for 12, and then you're told, "well, your loss" as he storms away from the counter. I could go and on but I won't get into detail or the real reason "mean people suck". I know I should feel sorry for the ones, like the extremely rude guy Katie had yesterday who was mad when she couldn't discount an item to a ridiculous price for him and he said, "well they would do at Macy's". Who knows, maybe his life sucks and he has the need inside to better himself by being an ass in public! But at the end my day, I'm grateful to have Country Roads. I get to meet so many cool customers and I'm surrounded by stuff that I love. And you know, some things in life are just a given, like mean people sucking. So like every day, I begin my mornings looking at the awesome windmill piece above and reminding myself how grateful I am that I can sincerely say I love what I do! And hopefully after today when I get home, I won't have to re-read this to remind myself "why I love my job"!

*Just a little after thought on the above. Today (Monday) two days after the Mean People Suck day, I'm kind of in my own world. People had been pretty mellow yesterday and today. So, at about three o'clock this old woman comes up to me at the counter with a really cool vintage hankie. The price was only $3.00. So she says, "honey, do you think this person might take less than the $3, it looks like there is a tiny stain of some kind on it." At that point, I wanted to pick up the hankie, place it on my nose, blow has hard as I could right into it and ask, "what stain are you actually talking about!" My job is never dull, that's for sure!


Decorating "Outside" of The Box

  This is my son Bryce and his wife's room at my house. He does all the decorationg, its in his blood. These little seats that Riley and Leonard are sitting on are actually airliner seats. You know, from a big jet. They make great seating. Riley is pretty fond of them, and wherever Riley goes, as you can see, Leonard follows. Decorating "outside" of the box is really a lot of fun. Finding funky stuff and utilizing it in a completely different way than it orginally was intended to be used is part of the fun. For those of you that are like myself, family, and friends you DO realize we all suffer from the same disease, right! Once the "antique-collecting-junk bug" is in your blood, I don't believe there is any cure for it so we might as well enjoy our addiction, don't you think?
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Thinking "Outside" of the Box

I know that I always have thought a bit different than others. And my thoughts and brain never stop and sometimes its exhausting. I "think" about stuff that happens in each of my days and what it means, and "why" I may have gone through a tough experience or had a day so full of joy. I guess I'm just a little crazy when it comes to that. I DO believe though, we go through our own stuff for reasons, and it's important to find the positive in what we experience in our daily lives. I hate when people say, "today sucked". Yep, we've all had days that maybe aren't our best, but I think if you look inside of yourself you will see how really grateful you should be to have the life you do. Anyway, I stumbled across this little book online this morning, and fell in love with it. To me, it kind of sums up life and our dreams. I ordered two copies this morning. Go to this website: dallasclayton.com and you can read the book online. Then, if you are like me, you will have to order one or two copies of this book because it truly is an "awesome" little book!


Just A "Peek" of Things to Come!

These are just a few photos of a new little romantic space being put together at Country Roads. Little Carol, as I have often called her since she was 18 when she started working at the store, and is now 30, and a wife and mom of two of the Country Roads little toddlers, Arianna & Azul. Carol is responsible for this beautiful work in progress!
Carol has always had spaces at Country Roads, but they've always been smaller spaces with the merchandise consisting mostly of smaller items. She decided to take a step us to a big space and I was just blown away when I saw how beautiful everything is turning out, and she isn't even done yet!! This is such a beautiful display, so romantic and elegant. And if you look above the mantel on the wall, you'll see a frame over a painting. That painting is actually painted onto the wall of this space, and just happens to be an original Christie Repasy painting. About fifteen years ago, she painted it for the dealer, Sharon ,who was her friend. She had helped Sharon put her space together and painted a little floral on the wall for her. We've taken care of it all these years, to make sure no other dealer has ever painted over it. And being the way we are all, family so to speak, we've traveled the full circle with Christie joining our Country Roads family last year, and now having her own space, just down the aisle from Carol's. I think this is the reason Country Roads is such a special place to shop. Our customers are not only are dazzled by our displays, but that feeling that "family feeling" is always in the air at Country Roads.


You Know You're Old When. . .

  Okay, I know I'm "old" when I've researched, read reviews, and thought, and thought about what kind of new cell phone I wanted! All along, I had been leaning towards the iphone, but I kept "thinking" it would be to tough to learn. You know, that OLD voice in your head that tries to convince you to just keep doing what you are use to! Today, I told that voice to "shut up" and bought a new iphone. I absolutely love it and it has been, by far, the easiest cell phone I've ever had to set up, plus being pretty cool as well! Now I wish I wouldn't have listened to that "old" voice when I got my new computer last year and gone with a Mac instead of the PC. What is the lesson in all of this? First don't be a dumbass by listening to those"old" voices in your head, its time to bury them. From here on, I'm ready for whatever new technology is thrown my way!! Even if it is something as simple as buying a new iphone!
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"On This Day. . . .

we gather because we have chosen. . .

hope over fear. . .

unity of purpose over conflict and discord."

What a wonderful, historical day, and we even got Aretha up there singing only as she can! I believe in my heart that this new journey will take us all where we need to be as long as we carry "hope" in our hearts along the way!


"I Have a Dream"

To me, today has great meaning. I'm old enough to remember Mr. King, and unfortunately, I'm also old enough to remember his death, and the horrific way he died! Even today, there are times I feel we have learned absolutely nothing from history, and I feel frustrated and saddened. I majored in Sociology in college, and I'm still pretty liberal in my opinions, but I still believe in being positive. And even in the sadness of the death of someone has brilliant as Martin Luther King, I remember one thing. That tomorrow, yes tomorrow, we will have a new President, someone that for me, represents HOPE!! The FIRST African-American president of the United States! So, as I go to sleep tonight remembering everything that Mr. King stood for, I believe in that full circle of life, I believe in Barrack Obama, and I believe once again in HOPE! I sincerely hope that you too share these thoughts, positive thoughts, hopeful thoughts, that Mr. Obama will make a difference in ALL of our lives, a difference in our world, and most in important, a hope there will be a difference in the way we look at each other, regardless of the color of your skin!


I'm Ready For Summer

  Our weather has been SO nice, so awesome and its nice to be outside enjoying the sunshine! Today, I was out in our gardens at Country Roads which we call, Johnnye Merle Gardens & Nursery. My oldest daughter Brande owns the nursery, and she named it after her Gramma, my mom, who always gardened with my kids when they were little! I fell in love, totally in love with this red vintage table and chair set. The color, the look, everything about it made me realize it needed to come home with me and would be perfect out by my pool. You know how there are just some of those things you have to have? We have this saying at the store, "it's not about the need, it's all about the want". So now, I'm definately ready for summer!!
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"Awesome Antiques"

For those of you that love country, primitive, real antiques, one of my dealers and friends, Ginny DeRosa, has set up a website/blog. It's awesome antiques: old john deere tractor umbrellaWhat I enjoy about Ginny's site is she tells you some history of the piece, the story behind it or what it may have been used for. I love the photo above, the vintage laundry basket on wheels with just a "touch of pink", and filled with great, old vintage rugs! I absolutely LOVE the old, mint JULEP container. I'm a sucker for advertising pieces and graphics. I've had a love affair with this little piece for awhile now. It's just tough sometimes to justify paying so much for a "shelf piece", although it is truly a one of a kind, something you never see and well worth the money! When it comes to those old country cupboards, Ginny has plenty, and they are all antique, no reproductions here!! The above pictures show us all what our history is about, what our ancestors used in their daily lives. These country primitive antiques are also becoming harder and harder to find. Speaking of history, check out Ginny's site because she is great when she tells you about her own personal love affair with antiques!


How Do You Find Down Time?

  Finding "down time" for myself is something I constantly struggle with. I'm one of those personality types (not sure of the letter) that is wired!! I never, ever let myself sleep past 6am because I feel like I'm wasting my day! I have the whole package going on: I'm a Gemini, blonde, and left handed. . . someone "help" me, please!! Plus, I'm convinced I have adult ADD or whatever it is called. My mind and brain never, ever stop. When I'm not working at the store, I'm working at home. You know, there is ALWAYS something to be done. I don't pay "peeps" to do my stuff, I do it myself. So, when it gets around to finding down time, I struggle. I feel guilty. The only place I can find this is in my backyard, this is one of the pictures of where I escape. Sally (my dog) and I go to the backyard. I bring my ipod and awesome Bose headphones and I escape! I don't know why, but that is the ONLY thing that works for me. Unless of course I begin to beat myself up thinking of what I could have, should have, been doing something else besides taking time for myself. I took a break this afternoon. Here in sunny SoCal we have been having awesome summer weather. Although as the sun began to set, it got chilly real soon. But then the stars came out, and the "North Star" was shining the brightest. I'm kind of a geek when it comes to the moon and the stars. Maybe that is a good thing though because it means I have finally took some "down time" for myself!
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Country Roads Welcomes "Uncle Tom's"

For those of you that shop Old Towne Orange regularly, you all know Uncle Tom's. Over the past couple of years, Old Towne has gone through quite a bit of change as in the addition of many restaurants. I think in Uncle Tom's case, it was a yogurt shop! I can't say that I necessarily support this "trend" as I believe strongly that Old Towne Orange is known for its antiques. Anyway, we have had the pleasure of Cindy, from Uncle Tom's join our Country Roads family! As you can see, in just a day, Cindy already is beginning to put together some great displays! This patriotic display is just in time for our now famous President's week-end, "Antique Affair" that is held each year. This year it begins on February the 14th, and wraps up on Monday the 16th. A great week-end to shop and also to stop in and see the talent and displays by Cindy, from Uncle Tom's!


Where I Spend Most of My Time

There are all kinds of names for this kind of room: work space, studio, office and such. Whatever word you choose, this is where I spend most of my time at home. In this room I've added stuff that I really like, such as old vintage signs, architectural stuff and I also love anything Hawaiian! This is one of my most favorite work tables. I love the rusty table legs,bottom shelf, drawer and the thick wooden tabletop. The hanging "stars" in the window are actually old vintage wooden tape measures.
You know how we all have our favorite cabinets, this is mine, filled with vintage Hawaiiana and vintage cocktail shakers. I figured since I spend so much time in this room, I'd put all the stuff I love in here. This industrial table sits behind my desk and is filled with all "my stuff" that I pretty much use all the time. The table has these awesome industrial looking wheels on the bottom of the legs and its a great height to stand and work. This is my desk (which is never too tidy), which is really an old harvest table. It works really well as a desk because of all the room. The floor lamp is an old medical exam lamp that really lights up the desktop and it works perfectly. And of course, since I'm in this room all the time, I have to have my architectural fix. I love this piece over the vintage Coke sign. It's open at the bottom, so someday I'd like to add some lights so it would light up the sign. I also have to have music in this room playing all the time. My first addiction is antiques, but a close second is music. And for any of you that love music like I do, check out all the products Bose carries. Their stuff is totally awesome! Okay, I need to post this so I can get back to my other work in one of my favorite rooms.