Self care at SLAM

Little Prairie Girl goes to the St. Louis Art Museum to get some perspective.

Do you ever have those times in your life when you feel like you’re screaming into the wind?

Lately, in my professional life, it seems like I’m trying to stick my finger in a dam that has ten thousand leaks.

I find that if I’m not careful, I’ll take my work life too personally, and let it spill over into my much protected home life.  When I’m short with my husband or son one too many times, it’s a red flag that I need to practice some self-care STAT.

To recharge, (self-aware introvert that I am) I generally needs two things to get back to center – quiet and beautiful spaces.

So, the St. Louis Art Museum in Forest Park is a natural oasis for me to pull my mind and spirit back together.

Its current exhibition, “Degas, Impressionism and the Millinery Trade” is fantastic!  It focuses on not only Degas’ artwork featuring the Paris millinery trade, but also the women who populated this booming industry during the 19th century.


There’s something about this exhibition that cheered me to no end.  Maybe it was subject matter, graceful ladies from a by-gone era working with delicate, feminine objects, or maybe it was the revelation that these women, who had a seemingly glamorous existence by working with pretty things, their lives, much like working women today, weren’t all that they seemed on the surface. These women didn’t seem so much different than me.



Nevertheless, it was wonderful to lose myself in a few hours worth of frippery and frills.  I mean, honestly, look at these hats!  The only thing that would have made seeing them better, would have been trying them on, but I don’t the think security guards in the exhibit would have appreciated me trying to open the glass case and dripping bits of my granola bar over those roses and feathers.


This young mademoiselle’s plumage is riveting!


Not to be outdone by the ladies, I found this stylish beau monsieur to be captivating.


These little cake toppers make me giggle – they serve no practical purpose other than to just be pure adornment on top of a fair head.



Ham that I am, I couldn’t resist getting in on the act.  What do you do to rest and rejuventate?  Until next time!  Au revoir!



Why I Decided To Open A Vintage Booth

Opening Day | April 2021

It’s been almost a year since I opened my vintage booth. Let me share with you why I did it and how it’s going.

January 2021. Living almost a year in near solitude really makes one take stock of life, am I right? Just months before, my husband and I had recovered from a rather nasty version of COVID-19 and I was feeling pretty grateful that we had made it through relatively unscathed. Entering a new year, especially one where there was still so much unknown about the pandemic, really had me thinking hard about what I wanted the future to look like, or at least a future that I could sort of control.

One of the many visions of my future that has stayed consistent over the years is to have my own business, where I sell vintage and antique goods to like-minded folks who love this stuff as much as I do. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood were when we loaded up in my mom’s station wagon and headed out to auctions or estate sales in the country. I was completely fascinated by all the amazing furniture, clothes, and jewelry that came out of old farmhouses in cardboard boxes to be bid upon. It was like opening up a time capsule except you could buy it – a passport into other past lives that was like heaven for a chronic daydreamer and play-pretender like me.

As I grew, my love for old stuff never really waned. I liked trolling antique malls and the occasional garage sale for things to decorate my spaces. I poured over magazines, and later Instagram and Pinterest, to research items or trends I was coveting. Eventually, I became an informal expert for friends and coworkers seeking advice on how to style their homes or where to find particular items.

Fast forward to January 2021. As I sat down at my kitchen island to scroll through my phone for the umpteenth time out of sheer boredom and desperation, I read an article by a gal who had opened up an antique booth at her local business co-op and described in incredible detail how much fun she was having.

I would love to have a little fun, I thought. If this lady can do it, then anybody can do it. Hell, I can probably do it. I sat up in my chair a little straighter. Why not me? I can do this. Now I was getting excited. I CAN DO THIS!

For the next three months if I wasn’t working or taking care of my family I was neck-deep into sourcing inventory, setting up spreadsheets, researching, pricing, and making a plan to stage my wares. My dining room acted as my make-shift workshop (and still does) where I cleaned and organized my items. It was exhausting, time-consuming work, but I was loving every minute of it!

I officially opened my booth in April 2021 and as more time goes by the experience gets better and better. I’ve gained so much – new confidence, new friends, and a healthy new respect for others who are side-hustling to do what they love. This project has been so inspiring that it keeps me primed to try pushing myself a little bit further whether in my family life, my day job, or with other pursuits (the extra money hasn’t been bad either, but I’ll do another post on that later).

If the pandemic has been good for anything in my life, it’s been an all too stark reminder that life is short and there’s no time like the present to shoot for a goal. My vintage booth may not be the biggest or the best thing that’s ever happened to the world, but it has meant the world to me, and that’s all that matters.

Our Current Situation: What Would The Ingalls Family Do?

The Ingalls Family. Seated from left to right: Caroline (Ma) Ingalls, Carrie Ingalls, Laura Ingalls, Charles (Pa) Ingalls, Grace Ingalls, Mary Ingalls.

I’ve been struggling for a while now (well, since we all went on lock-down last week) to figure out something meaningful to post on my IG account, but as ho-hum squares of my pets or my home don’t seem to cut it these days, I’m back at it with my blog.

Whenever I go through something particularly stressful or traumatic, I think to myself (swear to God), “What would the Ingalls’ have done?” Turns out, having read and reread all of the Little House books a gazillion times over, I have been preparing for the quarantine lifestyle associated with COVID-19 pandemic my entire life!

Let me share with you some ways we can learn from the Ingalls family in order to cope with times of trouble.

Get Busy
Never ones to rest (like, EVER), the Ingalls family always had something they were working on, even in times of isolation. Sewing, cleaning, cooking, mending, crafting, washing, gardening, tending to livestock – the list goes on and on of what they filled their days with whether times were good or bad.

As the family settled into the unihabited DeSmet area for the winter, Laura observed:
In the snug house, Laura and Carrie helped Ma with the housework, and Grace played, running about the big room with toddling short steps…They all settled down for a cosy afternoon of knitting and sewing and crocheting. Pa did the chores and walked the trap lined he had set along the edge of Big Slough…While they worked in the snug, cosy house, they told stories and sang and talked.

Now I’m not saying you should bring out your great-grandmother’s butter churn (although that would be an interesting project) to fill the time, but surely we’ve all got closets and drawers that need cleaning out, a dusty jigsaw puzzle waiting to be opened or weeds that need to be pulled from a backyard garden. I’ve been going through my closets like my pants are on fire and it FEELS REALLY GOOD to check items off my spring cleaning list.

Make Some Music
During the darkest of times, Charles Ingalls brought out his fiddle and had the family sing with him when morale was low. As the family tried to keep their spirits up during a three-day blizzard in The Long Winter, Charles rallied with family with song:
I’ll tell you what!” Pa exclaimed. “Laura and Carrie, you get out there with Grace and let’s see you quick-step march! It’ll warm up your blood.” It was hard to leave the shelter of their huddled shawls, but they did as Pa said. Then is strong voice rang out with the singing fiddle…Round and round they marched, Laura and Carrie and Grace, singing with all their might, thumping loud thumps of their shoes on the floor…They felt that banners were blowing above them and that they were marching to victory.

Let’s put our favorite playlists to good use by cuing up our favorite playlists and have an epic singing/dancing party. My family is just riveted by the showtunes I’ve been performing for them!

The Ingalls family only used their wagon and horse team if they had to transport the whole family to another location that was over a mile away. Other than that, they walked everywhere.

Charles and Caroline Ingalls used an afternoon walk to get some quality time together after a spell of being housebound On The Banks of Plum Creek:
But the next day was mild as spring. The air was soft and warm and the sun shone brightly. In the middle of the morning Pa came to the house.
“Let’s have an early dinner and take a walk to town this afternon,” he said to Ma. “This is too nice a day for you to stay indoors. Time enough for that when winter comes.” [Laura and Mary] watched Pa and Ma starting gaily away. Ma was so pretty, in her bornw-and-red Christmas shawl, with her brown knit hood tied under he chin and she stepped so quickly and looked up at Pa so merrily that Laura thought she was like a bird.

There’s data out there that shows that walking boosts circulation, improves mood and just generally improves overall health and wellness. Let us start a walking as we have never walked before, my friends!

Show Gratitude
This is probably the most important lesson we can learn from the Ingalls family. Throughout the whole Little House series, the Ingalls’ continually manage to push forward, through drought, blizzards, near starvation, debilitating illness and poverty to hope for a better future and to give thanks for what they had.

After a particularly unpleasant experience of boarding with an unhospitable family during her time as a teacher, Laura noted her great appreciativeness after returning home in These Happy Golden Years:
Waking the next morning was happier than Christmas. “Oh, I’m at home!” Laura thought. … She almost laughed with joy as she shivered into her dress and skipped downstairs to button her shoes and comb her hair in the warming kitchen where Ma was getting breakfast. She was busy all that morning, helping with Saturday’s work. Though usually she disliked the dryness of flour on her hands, today she enjoyed the kneading the bread, thinking happily that she would be at home to eat the fresh, brown-crusted loaves. Her heart sang with the song on her lips; she was not going back…ever again.

Finding things to be grateful about during the day, no matter how small or insignificant they seem, make me feel like I’ve won a small victory over this terrifying virus.

I’m not sure what the future exactly holds for all of us during these uncertain times, but I do know that if we are able to invite a few simple joys into our everyday existence right now, we’ll stay a littlemore connected and a little more sane.

Stay healthy, everyone.

3 Reasons Why “My Stylish French Box” is a Must-Have

Box logo
from the dismal depths of winter, my friends!  I live smack-dab in the middle of the country, where the National Weather Service describes winters as “brisk and stimulating”. Clearly, that phrase hasn’t been revised in a while because this season has been exceptionally wet, cold and gray.

So it was with much surprise and pleasure on one of those dreary days that I received the February edition of My Stylish French Box, courtesy of creator Sharon Santoni and her team!

If you’re not familiar with Sharon, she’s a gorgeous British expat, living a gorgeous life in France, as documented by her gorgeous blog, My French Country Home, as well as in numerous books and a similarly titled magazine.

My Stylish French Box is one of Sharon’s latest ventures offering women an elevated subscription box experience.  These unique and carefully curated packages are full of beautiful and elegant delights from France.

This particular box’s theme is La Parisienne and it totally delivered – here are the top three reasons why you really, really need one in your life:

  1.  My Stylish French Box Takes You To France Without Leaving Your Home
  2. It’s been a lifelong goal of mine to travel to France.  While my work and family demands are many, and a trip isn’t quite in the cards yet, I truly felt I was experiencing a little bit of this glorious country as I inspected every item in the box.  I’m a big believer in engaging all the senses to truly experience life, and short of listening to Edith Piaf (I did enjoy a glass of wine while perusing my box), I was transported!

  3. Cards Logo PNGCharming note cards and watercolor print by famed French artist,
    Jean-Jacques Sempé.

  4. Candle LogoA heavenly-smelling La Note Parisienne candle with notes of orange flower, tuberose, jasmine, rose and fig. 

  5. 2.  My Stylish French Box Allows You To Spoil Yourself Without Feeling Guilty
    For a mere fraction of the combined retail price of each item that is included in the MSFB, you are able to enjoy all this delightful beauty for what is really a steal!
  6. Make Up PNGOdile Bailloeul velvet pochette featuring a beautiful view of Paris.  A perfect shade of red lipstick by Pierre Ricaud and Annick Goutal’s Nuit et Confidences perfume with gold carrying case. Excellent for handbags!

  7. 3.  My Stylish French Box Offers One-Of-A-Kind Treasures
    In a world dominated by run-of-the-mill big-box store buys, it’s nice to have the opportunity to have items that not everyone else has.  Sure, I can go to Target and get the latest and greatest, but so can the entire St. Louis population.  I mean, how adorable is this little antique pill box and boutique soap?  You’re not going to find this stuff on Amazon, people.

Pill Box PNGThe delicate paper pill-box is the perfect size in which to keep my pearl necklace. The La Savonnerie de la Chapelle soap will be lovely in the guest bath.  

For more information on how you can subscribe, go to, but you’ll need to hurry.  There are a limited number of boxes available every month and they sell out very quickly.

Until next time, I hope you embrace your inner La Parisienne!

(Le Béret Français – my most favorite item!)

Annie PNG

A Happy Place

beach chairs

I have one.

My husband has one.

My neighbors and colleagues have one.

And you have one, too.

In fact, I would wager that everyone has one.

A Happy Place.

A place, physical or mental, where we retreat to when we want to feel inspired, joyful, comforted and still.

Charleston, South Carolina and the surrounding Lowcountry is my happy place.

I first visited about four years ago and had a kind of spiritual awakening. The way the sun sets over Shem Creek with soft, silky colors; the way a freshly fried crab cake melts on your tongue as it’s chased down with a Seersucker gin and tonic; the way the air, tinged with salt water ,feels on your skin as you explore the gorgeous historic homes lined with cobblestone streets…well, to me, is magical.

Beauty abounds everywhere you look.  Cheerful window boxes greet you as you stroll by downtown’s restaurants and shops.


And speaking of restaurants, the Charleston area has some of the best cuisine anywhere in the country.  Some of my favorites include the Brown Dog Deli, Hank’s, Magnolias and Acme Lowcountry.

It doesn’t matter how many times I visit, my jaw still drops at the incredible architecture all around.

Wonderful shopping abounds as well.  I make sure to always stop at the historic City Market, established in the 1790’s as a place of socialization and commmerce, where one can peruse four city blocks worth of local arts and crafts, clothing, foodstuffs and anything one could want with the Palmetto Moon motif.

Charleston loses none of its charm in the evening when the gas lanterns are lit and the city is becomes very romantic.  I dare you to walk in the city at night and not to feel tingly, like the first time you met your love.  I tell you, this place is saturated with enchantment.

Perhaps one of my favorite excursions this year was our sunset sail aboard the lovely Charleston Pride schooner, a replica of an 18th century three-mast sailing ship.  We explored the Charleston harbor, watching dolphins leap out of the water to say hello and admire the city’s most famous homes by White Point Gardens.  The crew couldn’t have been nicer and I was stunned by the magnificent views from the water.

sunset cruise

It’s always hard for me to say goodbye to this lovely place and I’m currently counting down until I can return again.  Stay tuned for an upcoming post about the best home tour I’ve ever taken that was in this area!

Until next time, I hope you get to visit and stay awhile in your happy place!

For more information about  Charleston and surrounding Lowcountry areas mentioned in this post, visit  

You too can be a Bad-Ass!

God love my husband. Last Valentine’s Day he gave me what I considered to be at the time, the worst gift ever.

“A self-help book??” I shrieked.

“Well, it seemed like it was something that would be totally up your alley,” protested my husband.

“Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about hearts and candy and flowers and shit like that,” I huffed. “NOT introspection.”

“Well, I thought you’d like it,” replied my husband.

I rolled my eyes in disgust and shoved the book back in the bag. I stomped up to our room where I tossed the bag down and hoped my husband had something better up his sleeve. The book stayed there for months, gathering dust in the corner of my room, until I was preparing for a long cross-country flight.

I hadn’t time to get anything new so I begrudgingly stuffed it in my bag before my flight to read if I was hopelessly bored or anxious during the journey (side note: I am a very nervous flier. Like, I dig my nails and gasp audibly into my husband’s arms during take-off, any turbulence, direction changes, whether or not the seat-belt lights turns on or off, at the general facial expressions of the flight-attendants and so forth. Flying with me is not enjoyable and I own up to it.).

After we had safely made it to our cruising altitude, I unclenched my eyes, fists and legs, and looked out the window at the clouds below to ponder my current state of affairs.

While I could count my blessings with my fabulous husband and son, my beautiful house and terrific friends, I was caught in a swirling mess of self-doubt about my career and my life goals. I suppose you could call it my mid-life-crisis as I had turned 40 earlier that summer. Anyhow, I was tired of my anxiety about my future and tired of the status quo. Who was I? What was I meant to do? What about my dreams?

Hurtling through the sky at hundreds of miles an hour, faced with my own existential crisis, I took out my book to distract myself, as I was, quite literally and metaphorically, stuck.

As I read, I thought, “There is no way….how is she in my head?” The author eerily detailed my frustrations. As I read further, I started to get pumped. I felt as if she had written this book just for me and was giving me the best pep talk I’d ever had.

Post-landing, I turned to my husband (after I released him from a veritable headlock) and said, “Wow. I’m really glad you gave me this book.” He smiled quietly at me and grabbed my hand as we exited the plane.

Reading this book is probably one of the best things I have ever done. I won’t go into a whole lot of detail here, because I don’t want to spoil the book for you, but I will say that you should NOT read this book if you’re not willing to really to get a fire lit under your ass to work toward your dream, whatever that is. It’s going to take a lot of self-reflection and digging deep to figure out what it is that you really want. That can be scary. But once you’ve done it and claim your power, nothing can stop you!

Since reading the book, good things have happened. Not magical by any means, but things that tell me I’m on the right path. I’m on my way to being a total Bad-Ass, and you can too! (Thank you, hubby.)

Until next time, keep dreaming big!

You can find “How to Be A Bad-Ass” by Jen Sincero at most major book retailers.

Linzer Cookie recipe

Do you have a favorite recipe that once you smell or taste it it immediately transports you to another place and time? For me that’s my mom’s linzer cookie recipe. One whiff of these incredible treats baking in the oven and I’m nine-years-old again, feeling the magic of childhood course through my veins.

It’s been a pretty cold and drab winter thus far, so we baked these together on an icy night to put a little love in our hearts.

My mother’s hands are not as youthful looking as they once were, but it amazes me every time she works the dough or mixes the ingredients together how strong and deft they still are. She sails around my kitchen as if she knows it inside and out taking command of our baking project with her expertise. I am lucky to have her! (And these cookies!)

Linzer Cookie Recipe

1 cup butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp almond, vanilla or lemon extract

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups flour

Raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix butter, powdered sugar, flavoring and salt in a bowl; beat at medium speed until everything is well blended.

Cover and chill dough in a bowl in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.

Roll out dough on lightly floured pastry board or countertop to 1/4 thickness. Use cookie cutters to make designs, making sure to use a smaller cookie cutter for top cookie design.

Place in oven on lined cookie sheet for 8 minutes or until edges are slightly golden brown.

Allow to cool on wire cookie racks or cookie sheets.

Once cooled, spread raspberry jam on one cookie. Place another cookie with cut-out on top to make sandwich.


Book Review: Prairie Fires – The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder


There seems to be a wealth of new publications being released about my favorite author and her life. From the re-release of “Pioneer Girl”, Laura’s autobiography, to “Caroline”, a historical fictional account of Laura’s sainted mother, to “Laura Ingalls is Ruining my Life”, a humorous book for the angst-y tween set, Laura is coming again to the forefront of popular culture.

When I heard that a new historical analysis of Laura’s life was recently released, I just knew I was going to have to read it, despite having reservations about what I was going to discover inside. I’m sure many of you out there have a hero that you’ve put on a pedestal, either from childhood or adulthood, who is your ideal human being, somebody who can really do no wrong. Laura is kind of that for me, although having already read her autobiography (which is excellent) I had an idea of what to expect.

Laura at the start of her writing career, age 50.

In “Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder” by Caroline Fraser,  Laura’s “truth” about the tales she spun in her Little House books is minutely and thoughtfully examined. What is wonderful about this particular book is that it gives a detailed historical look into what was going on in the United States at the time of Laura’s life. It wasn’t just that the Ingalls family decided to up and move every few years based on Charles Ingalls’ wandering spirit fueled by fresh American optimism. The Industrial Revolution, Washington politics, economic policies, racism, sexism and environmental disasters all played a huge part in the migration of the Ingalls and Wilder families from East to West.

Together with her journalist daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, the two writers forged a new reality for young readers, carefully sifting through the most unpleasant aspects of Laura’s childhood to create a book series that would focus almost exclusively on the family’s successes while leaving the most devastating failures out.

“All I have told is the truth, but not the whole truth,” Laura later said.  The real truth, as it happened, was too painful to record.  The Ingalls family hit some pretty low points between Charles Ingalls’ inability to successfully provide for his family, to the untimely death of a baby brother and a rather bleak period when the family had to work at a hotel to pay off their debts.   These episodes, Laura felt, were too difficult for young readers to understand and destroyed the idealized family picture she was trying to create.

The biggest bombshell of the entire book for me was the exploration of the dispositions and relationships of Rose, co-author/editor of the Little House series.

Rose testifying in 1939 before a Congressional subcommittee
as a self-identified “revolutionist”.  

PSYCHO HOSE BEAST.  Every page I read that included Rose I found myself shaking my head in disbelief.

Deeply ashamed and angry about her parents’ poverty, the resentment she felt in childhood spilled over into her adulthood, forcing her to make some very, very bad and unethical decisions in her career and personal life.   As she grew older, Rose blamed those same bad decisions on her parents, especially her mother.  In fact, Rose thought nothing of plagiarizing her mother’s stories for her own benefit and was said one day to  have looked on while her mother fell on the ground and refused help, according to a long time Mansfield resident. Suffering from life-long depression and relationship failures, it seems hard to believe that Rose could have helped her mother shape such tender family vignettes in the Little House books.  Perhaps Rose was better at her chosen vocation, shaping make-believe characters and story lines rather than dealing with the emotions and trials of real life.

The life that inspired the Little House series was “filled with light and shadow,” as Laura called it and “Prairie Fires” is a reflection of that.  Rarely are people and their circumstances solely black and white.  Human beings are complicated, multifaceted beings and “Prairie Fires” manages to shed light on the fact that Laura was no exception.  Laura believed in self-reliance and publicly disavowed Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, but never acknowledged the fact that she and her family were recipients of government aid when resources hit rock bottom.  She was a strong and independent individual but she actively campaigned against women’s right to vote in the early part of the 20th century.  Laura endorsed a simple, quiet life but was known to have a quick temper and would nag her husband mercilessly in order to get what she wanted.

“Prairie Fires” is a must-read for anyone interested in a grittier, complicated, and deeply emotional look into the life and times of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Until next time, read on!

Combating the Christmas Cranks


So, I’m just going to lay this out there – up until pretty recently I really, really hated Christmastime.

I know, I know.  I can hear the audible gasps out there.  I’ve got friends and family who literally cartwheel into Christmas, decking the halls, posting daily shenanigans of their “Elf on the Shelf” on social media and create gingerbread houses worthy of display at the Smithsonian Museum.  But, up until now, I have not been one of them.

I think my contempt for Christmas started when I was much younger, witnessing my poor mother labor endlessly over food, presents and decorating in an effort to make everything magical for us at home.  There was more than one holiday when my mom was exhausted, sick and upset as December 25th approached and my elementary-school- age id ego could never understand what all the fuss was about.

Jeez, why is mom so crabby?,” I’d ask my little sister.
“I dunno,” she’d answer as  we’d cram another Oreo in our mouths while watching “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” for the twelfth time in a row.


As I grew older and had a child of my own, it really hit home how much work it is for a woman to put on a show during the season.  Consider the following lists of to-dos I have tried to accomplish over the years:

  • Buying seasonal flair and lights for outside of house
  • Putting up seasonal flair and lights for outside of house
  • Buying seasonal flair for inside of house
  • Putting up seasonal flair inside of house
  • Securing photo for Christmas cards
  • Ordering Christmas cards
  • Addressing and sending Christmas cards
  • Buying presents
  • Wrapping presents
  • Buying food for meals
  • Preparing meals
  • Serving meals
  • Cleaning up the flippin’ meals
  • Researching recipes and baking cookies
  • Buying a tree
  • Decorating the tree
  • Making sure pets don’t kill the tree
  • Volunteering for children’s holiday school and church activities
  • Finding perfect holiday activities for family and paying for them
  • Buying, washing , ironing clothes for holiday travel, special events and photos
    And on, and on, and on………………………..


I was spending so much time stressing on the things that don’t matter, that I fell head first into a mental and spiritual crisis every time I heard, “The Christmas Song” on the radio the day after Thanksgiving.  I began to panic, feeling the pressure of what I thought was expected of me from family and friends every December.  I would find myself in tears wrapping presents or shouting at my husband during shopping excursions because I was wound up so tightly.

So what happened to help me turn around and actually enjoy the countdown to Christmas?

I got some mother-effin’ perspective.


With the help of a fantastic book, called “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking, I reigned in the red and green beast and reclaimed the jolly holiday as my own.

Here’s how:

  1. Joy is found in simple things.  
    I was spending waaaay too much on gifts for my family every year, thereby accruing a pretty signficant credit card bill because I thought I had to show my love through giving lots of  expensive, over-the-top gifts.  One or two simple gifts per person is just fine! Hey, Jesus got just three!
  2. Embrace nature.
    This year I got rid of all the fake greenery, trees and other shit in my house so I could bring in live greenery from the free clippings pile at Home Depot. I am also forcing paperwhite, tulip and daffodil bulbs in beautiful crystal dishes that I had stocked away in my cabinets gathering dust.  Not only does it smell incredible in my house right now, but I am really enjoying the beauty that is added from using natural materials.  In addition, bundle up and go for a walk outside – it does wonders for your mood!
  3. Get cozy.
    Find your softest clothes, blankets and cuddle like you’ve never cuddled before with those you love.  Studies show those who spend time cuddling experience less anxiety, depression and loneliness during the holidays than those who don’t.
  4. Say NO.
    This year I am saying no to doing a huge Christmas card mailing,  over extending myself with volunteer opportunities, buying in to Christmas television advertising hype, spending time anybody in my life who drains my energy and morale, and anything else that isn’t making me feel all the Christmas feels.  Saying no is truly liberating!
  5. Focus on experiences.
    Christmas isn’t about stuff, it’s about doing things you enjoy with those you love, creating memories that will be around long after the toys break, the iphones are outdated and the clothes go out of style.
  6. Schedule self-care moments
    Stop making excuses as to why you can’t do something nice for yourself this season.  Take a bath, read a book, book a massage, buy the outfit, get a babysitter for a night out — just do something that makes you feel good.  Nobody will ever care as much about yourself as you!

Cheers to you all and until next time, be good to yourselves this Christmas!






Oktoberfest || Maeystown, Illinois

Little Prairie Girl visits a charming fall celebration in historic Maeystown, Illinois.


Autumn is hands-down my favorite time of year. The changing leaves, the color palette of burgundy, gold, persimmon and chocolate, bonfires, hayrides, warm sweaters, flannel blankets, mulled wine…just listing this stuff of dreams is making me tingly!

I try to take advantage of as many fall festivals as possible, so I can really soak in the beauty of the season, but it gets hard because there is so much to choose from every week in our area beginning in September right through the winter holidays.

One of the best events, in my opinion, is the most excellent Oktoberfest hosted by the uber-charming of Maeystown, Illinois.

The tiny village (population 157 in 2010) is nestled on a hillside next to a beautiful creek and definitely feels as though time stopped sometime in the late 1800’s. Only street signs and a few parked cars here and there give it away that the village really does exist in modern times.

Oktoberfest is usually held on the second Sunday of October every year, and yes, I do mark it on my calendar a year in advance! Some of my best antiques have come from this show and you can bet your sweet bippy I’ll be at their spring show too!

Here are just some of the many treasures I saw that day…

turkey platebrass cottonrussian plaquesweet annie

chestcandlesFor more information on the history of Maeystown and other events, visit

Until next time, get out there and enjoy fall!

Calligraphy Calamities

Little Prairie Girl attempts calligraphy and hilarity ensues.


It should come as no shock to you by now that I am fascinated with customs from days gone by.  So when I learned that my good friend was now teaching calligraphy in small groups, I decided to jump all over that shit and hold an intimate gathering at my place for a few like-minded ladies to learn with me.

Because, let’s face it:

  1.  There simply aren’t enough calligraphy parties in this world for fabulous women, okay?
  2. When the nuclear holocaust comes, as it inevitably will because of that fucker in North Korea, the women who are going to survive are going to be the ones who have been educated in some kind of colonial or pioneer-style life skills (yeah, I dipped candles when I was in elementary school, bitch), not those women who are shoving jade eggs up their vaginas and cupping to rid themselves of phantom toxins (fuck you, Goopies).

Giddily, I pulled out my best china, silverware, napkins and put on a little spread that would satiate and soothe my overworked and underpaid girlfriends.

As I sat down to the table with my crystal champagne glass and plate full of cream puffs and brie, I thought, “This is going to be so rad.  I am going to be the best calligrapher ever!”  We briefly discussed what we wanted to do with our new found skills – addressing Christmas cards, filling in geneology charts, making cute chalkboard signs…the project ideas were endless.


Our teacher began class with how to hold the pen properly and to understand the structure of a nib pen.  It’s very important to keep the nib clean and to continually wipe off the nib with water and a dry towel to ensure that the ink flows freely.  “Yes,” I thought.  “I am one with the pen.  I am one with the nib.  I am just moments away from dazzling my peers with my incredible natural talent.”

We began by making a series of short, upward strokes, ever so lightly touching the pen to the paper.


So easy, I got this,” I smugly said to myself.  I looked around the table.  I could see my friends were thinking the same things to themselves. Then it was time for the downward stroke.  Piece of cake.  I just add a little more pressure, and BINGO, a beautiful, thick line, created by moi, calligrapher extraordinaire.  “When society breaks down after the bomb is dropped,” I thought, “And we are living in a Mad-Max/The Village scenario, hundreds will flock to me to write their missives for them as carried by my noble peregrine falcons. They will call me The Messenger.” (FYI:  I don’t have any peregrine falcons to speak of….yet.)

Now it was time to start creating capital letters of the alphabet.


Moans and sighs were heard all around the table.  “We’re gonna need A LOT of practice,” my mother muttered.

No matter.  A beginner always stumbled a bit. By the time I got to capital E, I would have it all down pat, right?


As our instructor circled the group, giving helpful and supportive advice, the following was overheard:

“Oh my God, I think I’m actually getting worse.”

“My hand is cramping.”

I’m going to need more champagne.”

“We’re gonna need A LOT more practice.”

As I sat practicing my letters over and over again, I finally realized, there’s a reason why calligraphy is so beautiful.  It is an ART.  And it takes practice.  Lots and LOTS of practice.

I helped myself to more champagne.

As everyone started to feel more relaxed (due to the copious amounts of cheese and chocolate, I’m sure), the conversation veered toward the philosophical and what we go through as working women.

My mother pretty much summed it up when she so wisely stated, “Here’s the thing, you’re expected to be good daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, employees and community citizens.  At the end of all that, what’s left for you?  This is why gatherings like this are so important – it’s important to do things for yourself.”

As our calligraphy party came to a close, I may not have been a complete natural, as I so foolishly thought I’d be, my heart was still full because I had been able to spend a few precious hours devoted to keeping antiquated arts alive and to do it with some of my favorite women.

I have resolved to keep practicing my calligraphy and have received a suggestion that I should host a “Little Women Night” with as a friend suggested, a “gaunlet of needle-craft, harpsichord and singing.”  Because, you know, somebody is going to have know how to do that stuff in order to teach others to how to pass the time in underground caves, waiting for the radiation to dissipate. What do you think?