Cure for the Mondays: Sophia Petrillo

 

Sophia

Image source: Roberto Garcia Fadon via Flickr

It’s Monday. It’s hard to get back into the swing of the work week, so let’s not yet. Here’s our cure for the Mondays: Sophia Petrillo. Let’s warm up our brains with the musings of our favorite Golden Girl.

On Being Old

-“When I turn my hearing-aid up to ten, I can hear a canary break wind in Lauderdale!”

-“I sleep like a log! I never have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I go in the morning. Every morning, like clockwork, at 7am – I p**. Unfortunately I don’t wake up ’till 8.”

-“I’m an old white woman. I’m not supposed to have color.”

-“I’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever know.”

-[On retirement homes] “Do you know what they do? They set off the fire alarm in a retirement home. Who can rush? Half the people have walkers. The other half can’t get out of their chairs. They got bells going off like crazy. Do you know what that does to hearts that only beat a few times a week? It’s not pretty.”

Image Source: Alan Light via Flickr

Image Source: Alan Light via Flickr

On Being Cranky

-“There’s just something I don’t like about him. I can’t put my finger on it, but if I did, I’d have to wash it.”

-[On her late husband Sal] “May he rest in peace till I get there.”

-“You didn’t ask me for my opinion, but I’m old, so I’m giving it anyway.”

-“Why do blessings wear disguises? If I were a blessing, I’d run around naked.”

-“There’s nothing to fear but fear itself… And of course the bogeyman.”

Sophia was sometimes wise, mostly witty and always hilarious. Even when you have the Mondays, Sophia is good for a chuckle.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

It’s Friday and it’s time to take a break to shop. It’s an easy breezy kind of day kind of day so those are the items we’re thinking about buying: things to make our lives easy and a little breezy. Here are the items we adore; LTD’s Product Picks for the Week:

Sheer-curtains

Indoor/Outdoor Sheer Curtain is a gorgeous way to provide some privacy and protection from the sun without blocking your view. The hanging loops are fabric-magic tabs that wrap around any rod and secure the curtain with a contemporary look. Lightweight fabric blows beautifully in the breeze. Water repellent and mildew resistant. 54″ wide. Polyester. Machine wash. Imported.

bug-zapper-butterfly

The lantern-look Solar Bug Zapper attracts and kills mosquitoes and other insects. Held within the metal frame, the zapper is harmless to humans and pets. An integrated solar panel charges during the day to automatically activate the zapper at night. Hang it by the hook or simply stand it on your porch, patio or a table. Butterfly, 10″ x 4-1/2″ sq. Star, 10″ x 5-1/2″ x 4-3/4″. Both measurements include the 3-1/4″ handle.

plus-size-smock

Brightly colored print and flattering style makes this Plus-Size Smocked Sundress a must-have for your summer wardrobe. Wear it over a swimsuit or as a casual dress for a stroll on any sunny day. Wide straps and cotton construction allow for comfortable all-day wear, while the smocked bodice complements your figure. Lengths are 41″, 41-1/2″ and 42″. Machine care. Imported.

solar-garden-post

Put an elegant finishing touch on your home with a Solar Garden Post. This classic accent features a teardrop shape enhanced with scrollwork. The lantern at the top is solar-powered, so it needs no time-consuming installation. Glows with constant white light for up to 8 hours on a full charge. On/off switch. A metal ring near the bottom of the Solar Post with Planter holds a 6″ pot. Some assembly required; assembly hardware included. 29″ x 13-3/4″. Metal and polypropylene.

Concealer-pins

A Set of 3 Concealer Pins lets you choose how little or how much you want to show. They’re the perfect solution to make all your tops appropriate for any occasion. Just push the pin through the fabric and secure the clutch to achieve the desired neckline. Pretty pins look like jewelry so they’ll complement any outfit. You can even use them to secure scarfs or shawls. Small enough to carry in your purse so it’s always there when you need it. 1/2″ x 3/8″ dia., each. Plastic and metal.

 

June 18th is National Splurge Day: 3 Ways to Spoil Yourself

June 18th is National Splurge Day…We’re taught to practice restraint in everything we do, but sometimes we need to let loose and do something for ourselves without feeling like we’ve done something wrong. Here are 3 ways to spoil yourself without feeling guilty for overindulging.

ShopaholicShopping

There are many reasons why we spend money and there are many reasons we don’t spend money. One thing is for certain: we like to spend money on things we want. Though the study hasn’t been officially published, researchers at the University of Michigan believe shopping can reduce residual sadness. Since Splurge Day is coming up, we’re going to give shopping the benefit of the doubt and give you the green light to splurge on whatever dress, piece of furniture or shoes you’ve been dying for. Buying something new might just lift your spirits – if they need lifting.

spa-day

 

Spa

A day at the spa doesn’t need much of a defense. By definition, it has countless benefits. British researchers found massage can reduce anxiety, but massage – more specifically, touch – releases the hormone “oxytocin,” which, new research shows, can keep you young. The study published in the journal Nature Communications was done on mice injected with the hormone – both young and old mice. Muscles in the old mice were actually repaired by the hormone while there was no effect on the young mice. This is not hard evidence showing more touching will make humans young, but a good massage is worth splurging on if there’s even a possibility it keeps us young. So please, splurge on that day at the spa.

Chocolate-CakeFood

There’s not much evidence eating too much of anything is good for you, but there are foods we are trained to eat sparingly – but some of those items can actually be good for you. One of them is chocolate. It contains flavonoid antioxidants which are considered to be good for your heart and blood vessels. With some evidence to back that up, Swedish researchers studied its effects on women who had suffered heart attacks and found the more they ate, the greater their chance of survival. It sounds too good to be true, but any reason to indulge in chocolate is a good reason.

We can’t eat, buy and do anything we want every day, but every once in a while it feels good to indulge; on Splurge Day, it’s ok to do just that. Happy Splurge Day!

Best Places to Fish Around the Country

Fly-Fisherman-CastingThe Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake is coming up. But even if you don’t live in Tennessee, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a weekend of fishing. Here are the Tennessee, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a weekend of fishing. Here are the best places to fish around the country right now.

California

Shasta Lake in Northern California near Redding is a prime spot for angling. Both warm water and cold water fish call it home. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass make waves there along with catfish, crappie, rainbow and brown trout, and bluegill among others. According to fisherman reporting on fishsniffer.com, kokanee and king salmon are buzzing right now with trout and bass performing a great side show.

Texas

Cedar Creek Lake outside of Dallas is one of the biggest lakes in Texas – and if it’s big in Texas, it’s HUGE to the rest of us. According to Cedarcreeklake.com it has about 320 miles of shoreline so there’s plenty of room to cast your line. Largemouth and white bass, crappie and blue catfish are yours for the fishing. According to bigcrappie.com, heavy rains are making shallow water great for reeling in crappies as the catfish move to deeper waters. Cedar Creek Lake isn’t just good for the fishing – it’s also a vacation spot and is rumored to be one of the best places to retire.

Illinois

Not too far from Carbondale, Lake of Egypt is the base for some of the best fishing in Illinois. There’s about 95 miles of shoreline between the Trail of Tears State Forest and the Shawnee National Forest. It’s a privately owned lake with public access for a fee — but it’s a great recreation destination. According to lake-link.com Largemouth and smallmouth bass, white and black crappie, bluegills and carp glide through the water of Lake of Egypt. Right now bass and bluegills are biting but the bigger fish are moving to deeper water.

Florida

About halfway between Tampa and Palm Bay, you’ll find Lake Kissimmee and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes where some of Florida’s best fishing is done; that’s saying a lot because Florida is peppered with great lakes. Lake Kissimmee is known for its bass – the Florida Game and Fish laws limits angler bounty to five fish per day – only one can be more than 24 inches long. Right now, the water is warm so it’s best to do your fishing earlier in the day before the heat slows the fish down.

Fly-FishingOhio

If you’re not tempted by the deep water of Lake Erie, just south of Akron, there’s plenty of fishing to be done at Portage Lakes – a chain of five lakes connected by channels. Many bodies of water means a variety of fish – walleye, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, rainbow trout, white crappie are among your options. Right now is a good time to scoop up crappies and largemouth bass are biting.

You don’t have to be a bassmaster to reel in a good fish, but you may need a fishing license, a fishing rod and a good lead to the best lake for outdoor sports. From California to Florida, you have some ideas on where to go… now all you have to do is bait your hook!

Ways to Use Chalkboard Paint

CAhalkboard-paint-lemonThe chalkboard has given way to the dry erase board in the classroom and now the dry erase board is being replaced by the chalkboard in the home. While the chalkboard is a learning tool quickly fading in schools now, our kids don’t have to miss out on what was a staple in the classroom for more than two centuries.  The chalkboard is a piece of childhood nostalgia we can easily bring into our homes to add character and practicality. Here are some ways to use chalkboard paint in your home for panache and purpose.

Eating & Organizing

In the kitchen, chalkboard paint doesn’t have to be more than delightful for a backsplash. It’s difficult to use the backsplash for writing notes or drawing and erasing, but chalkboard paint is a clever addition to an otherwise unnoticeable part of the kitchen.

But on the kitchen wall or even the refrigerator, it turns fun into functional with grocery lists.
Notes are well received on the kitchen wall – they can’t be missed when an entire wall is the message board.

And the refrigerator no longer has to be a vehicle for magnets; with chalkboard paint, kitchen art changes with the mood of the cook or whoever might have the chalk in hand.

Cabinet organization is chic for labeling jars of flour, rice and even spices. With the changeable nature of chalkboard paint, no container is a permanent home for whatever grain or sugar you need to store.

At the table, it adds personalized charm that’s recyclable.  Whether you want to do a kids’ birthday party or you’re having an elegant dinner party, chalkboard paint for reusable place cards or temporary placemats is a whole category of inspiration.

ChAlkboard-paint

Image Source: Nicole via Flickr

Living & Creating

In the living room, it can take the headache out of having a creative toddler – artwork is no longer unwanted on the wall. Let the creativity flow – chalkboard paint on a living room wall is a never-ending canvas for budding young artists.

And why stop at the wall when the coffee table is begging for a daily makeover?

Chalkboard paint adds character in places you didn’t know could be interesting.

Up the staircase is a new place for inspirational messages or notes that change with the seasons.

Under the staircase is a whole new corner to create style and complexity to a lifeless wall.

chalkboard-table

Image Source: Carissa Bonham via Flickr

Best of all, chalkboard paint turns an ugly piece of furniture into an object of whimsy… with a sprinkle of utility. Upcycle a dresser from a flea market, covering it with paint makes it into an organizational learning tool for your kids or you can use chalk to remind yourself where everything goes.

Chalkboard paint won’t solve all your decorating doubts, but it’s a DIY solution to many problem plans. Practically any surface or piece of furniture can inspire a new way to use chalkboard paint.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

Next week is June and with the official kickoff to summer behind us, we’re busy planning every free moment we have for sunshine and weekend getaways. Here are LTD’s product picks for the week that we need this summer.

Durable Waterproof Cases for Smartphones or Tablets safeguard your valuable devices. The Smartphone Case (6"L x 4"W) fits most smartphones, including iPhone® 4/4S/5, as well as certain Droid®, Blackberry®, and other MP3 and media players. For both the Smartphone and Tablet Cases, the devices are fully functional while in the protective case, including access to the camera, phone, web, and texts and emails. The iPad® & Tablet Case fits the most popular tablets (up to 10") on the market. The tablet case includes a dual-sided waterproof earphone jack that allows for privacy and use of the earphones.

Durable Waterproof Cases for Smartphones or Tablets safeguard your valuable devices. The Smartphone Case fits most smartphones, including iPhone® 4/4S/5, as well as certain Droid®, Blackberry®, and other MP3 and media players. For both the Smartphone and Tablet Cases, the devices are fully functional while in the protective case, including access to the camera, phone, web, and texts and emails. The iPad® & Tablet Case fits the most popular tablets (up to 10″) on the market. The tablet case includes a dual-sided waterproof earphone jack that allows for privacy and use of the earphones.

A Fashion Car Seat Cover protects your vehicle's backseat and gives it a great new look. The waterproof Oxford fabric cover attaches easily with fabric-magic straps. It's an easy way to keep pet hair, claw marks, kids' messes and other dirt and stains from ruining your car's upholstery. Polyacrylate coating allows for easy, wipe-clean care. 55" x 39-1/4". Imported.

A Fashion Car Seat Cover protects your vehicle’s backseat and gives it a great new look. The waterproof Oxford fabric cover attaches easily with fabric-magic straps. It’s an easy way to keep pet hair, claw marks, kids’ messes and other dirt and stains from ruining your car’s upholstery.

Wedding Essentials ensure your special day will be full of romance and fun. Share your dreams on the cute Pillowcase Set, which reads “You & Me” when you place your 2 pillows together. Cotton and polyester. Machine care. Imported. Let guests greet you with a celebratory Set of 30 Bubbles. Each .13-oz. bottle of bubble solution is capped with a blowing wand with a cute heart accent. The Slippers and Travel Bag Set includes comfy slippers and a handy cosmetics bag  labeled with your new married title and red hearts. Polyester. Machine care. Imported. The metal Invitation/Photo Frame elegantly displays your invitation and a favorite photo, or 2 photos under protective glass. Easel back has flocked black fabric. Mark the months and days until your celebration with the Wedding Countdown display. Its wooden blocks have a distressed finish and turn to show new numbers in an elegant black font. You can count down for up to 99 months and 55 days for those really long engagements! 

Set of 6 Shoe Hangers keeps your flip-flops, flats and other shoes organized in your closet. Innovative hangers have a trendy design in the center and keep your shoes in sight and easily accessible. 11" x 7", each. Metal.

Set of 6 Shoe Hangers keeps your flip-flops, flats and other shoes organized in your closet. Innovative hangers have a trendy design in the center and keep your shoes in sight and easily accessible.

Plus-Size Knit Short Pajama Set is perfect for lounging and sleeping during the warmer months. Decorated with all-over dots, the set has a flattering and comfortable fit. The top has an elastic gathered neckline and sleeves with a peasant-style look, in addition to an empire waist with elastic and a mock drawstring. Shorts feature an elastic drawstring waistband and piping trim at the hems. Cotton and polyester. Machine care. Imported.

Plus-Size Knit Short Pajama Set is perfect for lounging and sleeping during the warmer months. Decorated with all-over dots, the set has a flattering and comfortable fit. The top has an elastic gathered neckline and sleeves with a peasant-style look, in addition to an empire waist with elastic and a mock drawstring. Shorts feature an elastic drawstring waistband and piping trim at the hems.

Behind the Scenes: LTD’s Set Stylist

Raymond.christmas.treeThere are a lot of steps to putting together a catalog. From finding the right product to taking the photo, there are many people hard at work to make it all happen. One person who has a strong hand in putting our catalog is our set stylist, Raymond. Here’s a look behind the scenes with Raymond.

At LTD Commodities, we do almost all of our own catalog photography at our studio here in Bannockburn, IL outside of Chicago – that’s where Raymond works. He works mostly with garden products – string lights for a patio, a garden gnome or a stepping stone — but he works in a pet product every once in a while. Today, they’re taking photos of cat products.

Basically, when you see a product in the catalog, it’s Raymond’s job to dress up the scene so a photographer can take a picture. His scenes are based on the ideas of the buyer – the person who found the product to sell through the catalog – and he makes the ideas a reality. Raymond has a background in painting so he’s very visual and can see how things work for a photograph other people can’t see.

raymondiwthcats5The photographer sets up a product at the right angle; Raymond then puts together a scene around the product to “create a narrative.” He says one of the keys to making his job fun is having the right chemistry with his photographer. “Sometimes we don’t even need to talk,” Raymond explains.

“Every page has to tell a story,” he says as he puts a cat tower in the middle of a square of carpet next to a beige couch and a window. He creates the illusion that the cats are playing in a living room even though we’re in the middle of a big, airy studio.

“I have to set up a balance,” he illustrates, adding teal pillows to the couch and a plant in the corner to add contrast and make the picture “pop off the page”.

Then, they bring in the cats; kittens, to be more precise. It’s beyond the call of duty, but Raymond helps the cats look like they’re playing. They’re semi-professionals, so they’re used to being cute, but sometimes they need coaxing out of their corners with a few feathers. As an animal lover, when the cats come in, it’s one of Raymond’s more enjoyable days.

Sweet Couple Garden Statue

Sweet Couple Garden Statue

On other days, Raymond might be found putting together a scene in a tiny garden – which is one of his favorites. “I get to make a little fantasy world,” he confesses. He’s responsible for the scene of the sweet frog couple garden statue in our catalog right now.

From fairy gardens to cat towers, there’s certainly a lot of diversity in Raymond’s work. “I can’t say it’s ever boring.”

Raymond playing with an arctic fox in LTD's photography studio.

Raymond playing with an arctic fox in LTD’s photography studio.

The Unofficial Duck Dynasty Guide to Enjoying Memorial Day Weekend

Tomorrow is get away day! Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to spend in the country. And who knows better about country living than the Robertsons? No one. So here’s the unofficial Duck Dynasty Guide to enjoying Memorial Day weekend.

Keep it spontaneous…

“When you don’t know what you’re doing it’s best to do it quickly.” – Jase Robertson

“Here we gooooo!!!!” — Jep Robertson

“Time for some motivation. Hold on to your hat.” – Jase Robertson

Keep it interesting…

“Is this turning into a near death experience…possibly. Does this add to the adventure…absolutely!” –Jase Robertson

“You can talk any redneck into a challenge. That’s why so many rednecks die in strange ways.” — Jase  Robertson

Make your meals memorable…

“Squirrel brains make you smart.” – Kay Robertson

“I am the MacGyver of cooking. If you bring me a piece of bread, cabbage, coconut, mustard greens, pigs feet, pine cones…and a woodpecker, I’ll make you a good chicken pot pie.” — Si Robertson

“Crawfish Pie.” – Willie Robertson

Keep it country…

“You can put camouflage on anything and it automatically becomes cool.” – Si Robertson

“Camo does make everything look better!!” – Jep Robertson

“Faith, family, facial hair, and #4 feathered fowl.” – Jase Robertson

Keep it DIY

“Redneck rule number one, most things can be fixed with duct tape and extension cords.”-Jase Robertson

“Work hard for your own crap.” – Willie Robertson

“I figure everyone living in a city starting with Fort appreciates the gesture. Let’s build a fort and live with confidence.” – Jase Robertson

Keep it real…

“That’s right….I got smoke coming outta my duck call, that’s cool I don’t care who u are!!” – Jep Robertson

“I like a bunch of books, problem is, I read first 4 chaps, get fired up, forget to finish.” – Willie Robertson

“Gotta go quack some skulls in the duck call room.”– Willie Robertson

“’Hey’ can mean anything. It can mean yes, it can mean maybe, it could mean no, it could mean next week. Hey, the bottom line is you have to understand me to understand hey.” –Si Robertson

Whatever you do this Memorial Day weekend, if you have a Duck Dynasty frame of mind, your weekend will certainly be entertaining.

Happy Memorial Day!

Pack Rat Day: Mrs. Cunningham’s Guide to Dealing with Clutter

 May 17th is Pack Rat Day– no one wants to throw out our sentimental baubles, so how do we de-clutter to keep a home as neat as Mrs. Cunningham’s?  With teenagers at home it couldn’t have been easy to keep everything so tidy. Though it’s been 30 years since we’ve seen Happy Days, we can apply Mrs. C’s wisdom to unburden ourselves with junk.

Mrs. Cunningham: Trying is a part of failing. If you are afraid to fail then you’re afraid to try.

Throwing out our mementos is difficult. But if hanging on to things is causing clutter it could be indirectly causing stress. Don’t be afraid to let go. Use the following ideas to help you.

  • Throw out one useless item a day.
  • When you walk into a room, throw out the first useless thing you see.
  • Make use of your useless items.
  • When you pick up a useless item, weigh the joy it brings you vs. the joy a clean home brings you. Then throw it out.

Try to de-clutter and you will certainly succeed.

Mrs. Cunningham: I hope you weren’t offended when I got a little peeved at you the other day. 

It was rare to see Mrs. C upset because her house was always so neat – and mess sometimes leads to stress. In a survey taken by The Huffington Post, a home not being organized or clean was one of the top five stressors among those who were surveyed. If there are too many items around the house you don’t need any more it can be visually stimulating your brain in negatives ways. If you find yourself needlessly stressed out, it may be time to take inventory of your home and de-clutter. How else would Mrs. Cunningham stay so jovial all the time?

Mrs. Cunningham: Howard, we’ve been married twenty-one years. You can stop apologizing now.

Don’t apologize for your treasured trinkets. Not being able to get rid of useless items is fairly common. According to a study published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, about 20% of the US population has trouble throwing away things we don’t need. Mr. Cunningham doesn’t have to apologize for his mess, and neither do you.

Mrs. Cunningham: Don’t you think we should move the bathroom somewhere else so that, when people drop in, it won’t be the first thing they see?

Don’t keep your mess in a place where everyone can see it. Put it away. Even when it doesn’t seem like you have enough space, there’s always a way to create storage. There are plenty of hidden areas under the sink and in drawers to use as a depository.

Mrs. Cunningham: We can survive with good taste.

Nothing is trash if it’s well coordinated. All those old photos in your desk drawers become a wall gallery. Old credit cards become guitar picks. An old ladder becomes a bookshelf. There are millions of ways to turn the things you don’t need any more into things you need. Just do it tastefully.

4 Things Frogs Teach Us About Slimming Down

May 13th is Frog Jumping Day. As the name of the date states, frogs jump, but they have many other ways of moving around. If we humans applied these methods to our daily routine, we might lose weight. Here are 4 things frogs teach us about slimming down.

frog-1Mix Up Your Routine

Frogs jump, run, walk, climb, glide, and swim to get around. Doing a variety of workouts gives your body a chance to heal. Working a set of muscle groups one day and working a different set the next day allows your muscles to recuperate and recharge. This can reduce the risk of injury. Varying the routine also helps you get the most out of your routines. Bodies tend to plateau if you only have one method of exercise.

Breathe

We need oxygen to produce energy – every move we make requires oxygen. Frogs breathe constantly. They have lungs, but they also take in oxygen through their skin when they’re under water. While frogs breathe involuntarily, it can be voluntary or involuntary for humans. When we put in a hard workout, it’s sometimes hard to breathe enough involuntarily, so we have to remember to breathe voluntarily to maximize our energy and workout.

frog.1Eat with Your Eyes

Unlike humans, frogs use their tongues and teeth to grab prey rather than to chew and swallow their food. Frogs use their eyes to swallow food. The eyes retract into their heads to help push the food down their throat. This is why it looks like frogs are blinking when they eat. Human eyes don’t have the capability to sink low enough to help us swallow, but eating with our eyes can help us stay trim. A study published in the journal Appetite shows people will likely enjoy food more if looks appealing. So if you make your chicken and broccoli beautiful and make your pizza look unappetizing, you’ll likely make the healthier choice.

frog-3Stay Hydrated

Frogs need water to keep their skin slick which protects them from everything – as a guard against bacteria to making them too slippery for predators to hold on to. It’s not a surprise frogs use a lot of energy to stay hydrated. Some frogs are nocturnal to avoid water loss; others secrete a waxy coating to prevent water loss; some even have a special stance that slows down evaporation. While humans need water to keep organs functioning and to stay alive, we don’t have the same sort of defense mechanisms on auto-pilot to keep us from losing water. A day in the life of a frog may be the reminder we need to have another glass of water.

Frogs are amazing little creatures. They might not be wise, we can learn a lot from them.