Welcome to Southern Comfort!

Hi, I'm Elizabeth and I invite you to grab a glass of sweet tea and join me as I (along with my husband, John) renovate our love nest. We're both born and raised in the south and love to share with you some of our favorite recipes, stories and our life. We hope you'll come back often!

Friday, May 27, 2011

the clutter, the stuff and the house

We all have it. Clutter, that is. The stuff that fills our life. Fills our house and in some cases, drives us nuts. The show Hoarding is in a world of it's own when to comes down to holding onto things, I am happy to say, our house is not quite that bad. The shed, is another matter. I get hives if I think about it too long. Seriously. :)

I have a couple of rules when it comes to clutter, junk and the like.

1) If it's old, and no longer serves a purpose, or it's broken: it goes (yes, I'm talking about the computer cable that is so out of date and doesn't plug into anything we currently own, the old picture frame that is broken, the pot you don't use, and havent in 3 (or more) years because it's all scratched up. This also includes worn out clothes or anything you just plain don't use anymore (and no, I do NOT rip up old clothes for dust cloths. I buy plain white wash cloths at walmart for cleaning. That way I can see when they're dirty or old and everyone in the house knows what they're used for. and they're cheap).

My philosophy behind this: life it too short to be cramped in your house by things you don't use. If in the case that "you may need it someday" I guarantee you can either borrow it from a friend, a neighbor, or buy it again in a pinch. If you don't use it, you don't like it, or it's not currently serving a purpose, it's O.T.D. (out the door). Typically I give things to Goodwill. I like to recycle and give things another life if I can. Something you're holding on to may be better used by someone who really needs the item.

2) If it's a gift, a knick-knack or a sentimental piece: It deserves thinking about. This is a bit of a stickier situation. But I'm going to take the time to walk you through this step. It's the hardest part of de-cluttering.
sentimental items: Most sentimental items from my childhood are kept away in a tupperware box in the attic. Since my childhood I've gone through the box several times and donated items that were once much more important to me than they are now. I think that as we grow and live, certain things that used to have a lot of meaning, are exchanged for others and for memories. I learned a while back that just because I threw away the love notes from a high school boyfriend doesn't mean I don't remember our fun times together. It just means I needed that box to put something else in it, like the jewelry I wore on my wedding day. Just because the notes are gone, doesn't mean it takes away the memory.

I think a lot of people struggle with this step of cleaning. The candlesticks you got from your grandmother. Yes, you love your grandmother, but your taste in design is different. So for years the candlesticks sit on your buffet in the dining room. You don't really love them, but because of her you want to keep them.
Let's break it down: do you love the candlesticks? not really. Will you love your grandmother any less if you passed them on to another owner? No. Do the candlesticks have any particular significance to you other than they were hers? No. Then you have your answer. You can pass them on. Pass them on and THEN get yourself some new candlesticks that YOU love and buy them in her memory. Win. Win.

If your grandmother was kind enough to give you a set of candlesticks just for the heck of it, I'm sure she gave you some other more meaningful items that you should hold on to. This also goes for Moms, Aunts, Grandfathers, hubands etc. Here's an example of my own:

When my grandmother's house was purged last year (she's in assisted living now) there were so many items that I remembered from my childhood I wanted to keep. I had to really sit myself down and ask if I wanted the item for what it meant, or was I trying to hold on to the memory? In the end, it was the memory I wanted, not the set of blocks. As we continued to go through her home, there were items that John and I both liked and we needed in our home now. The mirror in our guest bathroom came from my Grandmother's home. We had just bought our home a few months prior and we didn't have a mirror for the guest bath. Now it serves 2 purposes.
1. It is useful for everyone who enters the bathroom.
2. It holds a memory of my grandparent's home that I can use all my life.

If an item doesn't serve a purpose for YOUR HOME and YOUR LIFE and you're only keeping ahold of it because of a memory, that's emotionally cluttering your home.

I like to have a goal that everything I have placed in our home has a purpose and meaning. I'm still working towards that goal. I too, struggle with "but what if I need it... " syndrome. I have to get tough on myself and really find out the reason for keeping it.

How do you handle the "extra's" in your life?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Where we slept along the way

I know I promised I had some more pictures to share with you about Ireland. And I know I've been holding them hostage long enough, so I figured now was better than later. You can thank me for pulling out of my lazy posting streak later.

In true blogger fashion, I took pictures of all the rooms/ homes we stayed in. Of coure I'll comment as we go along (would we have it any other way?). I sure hope you enjoy.

Our first 2 nights we stayed in Dublin at the Regency hotel. We were so tired I forgot to get pictures. Maybe my sister got some, but I did not. If I do get ahold of any, I'll add them to the post. Anywho..

After traveling out of the city and heading west, we stayed at Dan O'Hares B&B for night 3. Here it is pictured below.

Here was our room:
It was a great room with lots of room to spread out our stuff. Other than the weird alien light (which we kept off most of the time) it was quite cozy!
View of the bathroom:

For the most part all the bathrooms are pretty much like american ones other than 2 noticable differences.
1. all europeans love their towel warmers (and this american couple quickly became fans too)

2. Most of the sinks have spouts for hot and cold water (not pictured above). Not one for both. Watching my husband wash his hands for the first time had me rolling.

Night 4 was spent in a small town called Doolin. Here we stayed at Sweeney's B&B. It was a beautiful house perched on the top of the cliff overlooking the Atlantic. The Sweeney family has lived in the house for at least 6 generations. Six!

A small room, but it did the job for a couple tired tourists.

sorry for the dark pictures, I couldn't do much about the lighting.

Bathroom. See what I mean about 2 spouts?

On night 5 we stayed here. Forgive me, I can't remember the name of this BnB. I know it was in a little town called Ventry, and I remember how nice the lady who ran the place was. She went over and beyond to make sure we are comfortable. It was such a relief to meet such wonderful, interresting and welcoming people all along our trip.

And our last night. Night 6 if you're counting was spent here:

Sorry I didn't get a picture of the outside. I'm just glad by this point of the trip and I remembered to get one of the room.

The bathroom. Yes, I'm hiding in the shower.

Irish aren't as proud of their bathrooms like Americans. They are teeny tiny. No one spends time in them the way we do. It's pretty much: get in, get out, move on. Luckily for us, since our bathroom at home is pretty much the same size as these it wasn't a big adjustment. :)

I do hope you get a chance to visit this magical country. We enjoyed our trip so much.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

so it's been a while...

Wow! Hi y'all!
Man, I seem to be taking more and more time away from here huh? Bad blogger (insert me slapping hand here). But I've been away for good reason. I didn't want to mention it before hand, but the hubs and I took a long vacation away. We went (along with the rest of my family) to Ireland. For a week. And yes, it was every bit as green, luscious, and fabulous as you imagine.

So this week has been busy busy trying to get things back to a normal pace. Our grass grew a foot while we were gone and it is still up to our knees. Lets hope we can tackle that this weekend (so the neighbors don't start complaning). We have had little to no food in the house, so planning meals has been a challenge. Hot dogs anyone? Not to mention, after a week of being away the house needs to be dusted and vacuumed again. Just because we went on vacation, doesn't mean the cats didn't play nice and not shed while we were away. Work has been very challenging for us both this week trying to get caught up and we're just so darn tired. So, please forgive my absence.

We have our travel bug out of our system now for this year, so I'll be back a lot more frequently to tackle some much-awaited projects around the house.

So while I am working hard on trying to pull our life back together, I'm going to leave you with some photos of our trip. If you've been to Ireland, you know how spectacular it is. If you haven't, it's a "must-go" kind of place. Enjoy and I'll see you next week!

On the left, the most precious chickens I've ever come across. They led us up the trail to thier coop, just to show us their digs. I'd say they were quite the hostesses!
The photo on the right was taked at Clonmacnoise, a monastery built around 500 a.d.
 Auchnanure castle on the left, countryside looking into the town of Doolin.

Beautiful countryside overlooking the mountains of The Burren.

Antique shop on the left in Ventry, and the marina in the town of Dingle on the right.  


Scariest moment of the trip!

Baby lambs freckled the countryside. So sweet.

Old castle at Clonmacnoise and Irish countryside. But check out the curves of the roads!

 The famous cliffs of Moher and Dingle penninsula.


The coastline of the town Doolin

I took some pictures specifically for the blog, so be looking for those coming up :)
Have a great weekend everyone!
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