Monday, December 28, 2009

Plan ahead, and take time to yourself this new year
I’m always planning, even when I’m relaxing. This final week of 2009 I’m sharing ideas for a few goodies to pamper/organize yourself (to me it’s the same thing) and a few book ideas to stimulate the mind.
News fans, thanks for reading!

Wonder Hanger
While I loooovvveee hand-me-downs, I have something of a wonder going on in my closet. Almost all of the clothes in there are those I picked myself. I thank Weight Watchers for helping me slim down and I’ve been thrilled to donate my larger sizes to Missions’ Attic.
Imagine the extra closet space I have. But I’m not stopping there. My nerd, OCD obsession with order has brought me to Wonder Hanger, as seen on TV, that promises to triple closet space. Plastic spacers enable you to loop five coat hangers onto a rack that swings out when you need it. It really, really works. I love it. Now all my T-shirts and button downs can live together in color-coded harmony.
You can get 20 pounds of jackets, purses, etc. on Wonder Hanger, no matter if you use plastic or wire hangers. No matter what Joan Crawford says, my mother is sticking to wire hangers.
I’m also checking out Twin Draft Guard, a strip of the same foam used to insulate pipes in Northern Canada, that can insulate a door or window and also block fumes and noise. You’ll love this: it’s machine washable. The hanger and guard should cost you about $9.99 each at major retailers including Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Walgreens.

The Paraguay bath
I was thrilled to get a big block of chocolate that is actually a soap bar. The square chunk of Snow Cleansing Blend made me sing the “White Christmas” song about washing my hair and face with snow. Wembè Amazon Soul is named for the “monster fruit” of the Southern Atlantic rain forest and was born from a mother’s fascination with soap making developed through a trip to Europe. She went home and cooked up bars from local products, including mango, yerba mate, black clay, avocado, passionfruit, seaweed and coconut. She and her son expanded the business to America so we can bathe Paraguay style with exotic scents and textures. Give yourself a New Year’s treat by sampling the 16 varieties in the 2010 collection of soap bars so interesting, even your kids will beg to take a bath.

Yak Pak
Just because the Yak Pak catalogue shows hip college students dashing about town with their cool messenger, bowler and cross body bags doesn’t mean all ages can’t move their goodies around in one. In fact, the Megu is all about the Mardi Gras, even if the designers didn’t know it. It’s a Japanese word meaning blessing, and this cotton twill hobo has enough purple and green to say “let the good times roll” to Southeast Texans. Tote your throws in this hobo or go with pop florals sure to take you back to the ‘70s. I think there’s a lot of good pocket, zipper and snap detail inside.

“Fly-Fishing Secrets of the Ancients: A Celebration of Five Centuries of Lore and Wisdom”
By Paul Schullery
I sit by Mary Meaux, reporter/fisherwoman. I’ve never even been fishing, but I’ve come to recognize a “good fishing day” by the weather. This University of New Mexico Press book shares “provocative theories” and such he dug up and “current angling dogma.”
 The book shows an illustration from a German publication in the ‘20s of women soaking and washing small fleece sheets upon which cultivated silkworms had laid their eggs. Eggs would then be “awakened,” warmed and hatched so new silkworms could be raised and harvested.

“Celebrating 100 Years of the Texas Folklore Society”
Organized history buffs know where to look for the stories. Get them all together and they get to talking … or writing. In this new University of North Texas release, fans send up their famous group in collections of anecdotes and columns.
“Do we brag? You bet,” Scott Hill Bumgardner. “The stories of our diverse peoples have been derived from Vietnamese boat people, Mexican peons, healers, oilmen and more. But for me, the addition began with the society’s editor, J. Frank Dobie. Dobie brought the history and lore of Texas to life.”

“Grace” and “Roseborough”
By Jane Roberts Wood
I haven’t yet read these, but I can’t wait to tell you about them. The author lives in Argyle and set “Grace” in the east Texas town of Cold Spring in 1944, a the community waits for war to end. The other novel features a recent widow whose teen takes off and who finds her job at the Dairy Queen “grounding.” Sounds like Texas to me. The University of North Texas Press books are No. 3 and 4 in the Evelyn Oppenheimer Series.

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