My first memory of Christmas is of electric lights–electric being the key word. I was three years old, tinkering with the lights beneath the bottom branches of a scrawny fir in my grandmother’s living room. In rural South Carolina, trees were plucked from wherever they could be found, and my grandmother typically found hers somewhere along the railroad tracks behind her house.
Each year after the hack job, she’d drag the thirsty thing back up to the house, stick it in a wrought iron stand, and put on the lights. They were big and colorful, and searingly hot. My first Christmas memory is those lights, sticking the prongs of the plug into the outlet beneath the tree… along with my forefinger. The memory is still shocking. Stunningly, staggeringly electric. Think Phyllis Diller hair, and tears that burst forth like rain from an angry could.
I’m an adult now, and I still cry. Like pregnancy and painting, the pain of lighting the lights is forgotten once done, but remembered when trying again. This past weekend, I dangled on a ladder and decorated my house, cursing like a sailor. Now that it’s done, I can pour myself a cocktail and enjoy the holidays.
Hey, are your lights twinkling yet?
Barbara predicts my future is full of fun. How about yours?
At the end of summer each year, I’d already have my first day of school outfit planned out. It was always the most exciting and eye-grabbing ensemble I could put together (or dare wear in South Carolina) because I always went back to school with big dreams. From having the best friends to getting the best grades, from winning the speech contest to being cast as the lead in the school play. And it made life fun. Here’s the thing. What keeps us going is having that dream. And then having a new one. And a new one after that. Take my friend Barbara Corcoran (if you’ve not read our latest book: Shark Tales
, you should to be inspired.) Barbara built her business, sold her business for mega-millions, reinvented herself, became a TV commentator, then a Shark, and now she’s Dancing With The Stars
. At any point, she could have stopped. But she’s living life to the fullest with a big dream. As you head “back to school” this fall, ask yourself, “What’s my big dream?
The Boston Herald asked for my best garage saling tips, including “What NOT to buy?” I avoid:
• Cribs and car seats: “Safety requirements change… You don’t want to put your child at risk in anyway.”
• Mattresses: “Mattresses are gross, and (they can have) bedbugs. Icky, icky, icky.”
• Tools with frayed electrical wires: “If it is not in working order and you are not an electrician that can fix it, I wouldn’t buy it.”
• Say no to opened lotions and potions: “I once saw someone selling a half used tube of Preparation-H for a quarter.” Here’s a Garage Sale 101 TIP: Don’t try to pawn off your used toiletries… even if it only took half a tube to cure you.
From playing on the beach to rides in my Mustang, summer is the time I love letting the wind rustle my hair, the sun hit my face, and screaming weeeeeeeee. May your summer be filled with sunshine, birds singing, gardens growing, and FUN. I’m going to pitch a tent in the backyard and roast smores. Let’s get out there and enjoy summer 2017!
Spring wakes me up, gets me going, and tells me, “Anything is possible.” Every delicate sprout pushing its way upwards through the heavy weight of the ground above is proof that, with determination, we can all blossom. This is the month to plant seeds for summer fun. What’s the thing that makes you feel most alive? Do more of that this spring!
What a thrill it was for me to be back in South Carolina to accept the “Distinguished South Carolina Public School Graduate” award at the inaugural gala sponsored by the SC Association of School Administrators. The night was extra special for me. First, because my guest for the gala was Sarah “Miss Porter” Cloaninger, MY FIRST GRADE TEACHER! Second, the other 6 recipients included former Governor Dick Riley who had the vision to start the SC Governor’s School for the Arts, which I attended. To find out more about the awards, SCASA, and how you can contribute to a great public education, click here.
I had some fun on Good Day NY recently with Rosanna Scotto, Greg Kelly, and MSNBC’s Alison Stewart. (Check out her new book: JUNK.) We had ourselves a New York City street sale, raising money for charity. Rosanna wanted to know my #1 secret for buyers to get good deals at sales. That is, Wear your worst shoes! Why? If you’re dressed to the nines, you’re going to pay more. When you’re asking for a better price, sellers appraise what you’re wearing. The finer the stitch, the higher the price. And if you’re having a sale this year. Here’s a tip: Put up a rope line across your driveway and drop it when the sale starts. Buyers will be running to grab your stuff. Oh, and for other tips check this out and if you want to watch me find treasures. Here’s a Today show adventure I took.
Happy to say that Moving In: Tales of an Unlicensed Marriage is a WINNER of the 5th annual “Living Now” book awards, celebrating must-read books that encourage better living. Moving In won the bronze award in the relationships & marriage category. I’ll take it! The award gives me street cred as I now try to convince Scott we need an indoor pool during phase 3 of our renovation! If you’re in a relationship, you’ll get a laugh out of this book. (Check out the reviews!)