Why You Should Go to Walgreen’s

Younger Daughter is right. I need to stop being such a shopping grouch. So what if some companies seem determined to squeeze every last penny out of us they possibly can, even resorting to some bordering-on-the-edge-of deceptive packaging? Doesn’t bother me one bit. Because, as is the way with the world, karma sent some serendipitous bargains my way to balance the disappointment of getting shortchanged on age-attacking wrinkle cream. Here’s the story: I was in Walgreen’s a few days ago in yet another futile attempt to refill printer cartridges  (it never works and I always have to buy new ones and I strongly dislike having to pay close to $100 for something as distinctly non-fun as new printer cartridges). But while I was there, I literally ran into happened to see a shopping cart parked next to check-out that was full of tissue paper and gift bags. What first caught my eye were cute black-and-white prints with pops of bright pinks and greens. Perfect for all my friends’ birthday gifts I think about giving in my head. Then I found tissue paper with characters from one of 3-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable’s favorite movies — “Toy Story.”  And then I noticed the clearance sign on the cart that said “75 percent off.” Jackpot! And then when I was checking out, some of the gift bags were half-off of the sale price. I ended up with seven packages of printed tissue paper and 11 gift bags with coordinated tags and some also with their own coordinated tissue paper, all for about $12. I felt as if I were having my own “Extreme Couponing” moment. In a small way.

How Many Women Does It Take To Host a Bridal Shower?

Answer: Five — one to be the decorator, one to be the chef, one to lose her car keys, one to obsess about the eggs getting cold and one to be the calm and peaceful center of it all — and she was the one whose house we had invaded. Five of us gathered together this weekend to host a brunch/shower for the bride-to-be daughter of another dear friend, and it was a great success. There were a few chaotic moments, naturally. Such as when we first were faced with an empty table and no real traffic-flow plan. Or when each of us at different times couldn’t find our A) phones, B) car keys or C) shoes. Or when one of our daughters — who shall remain nameless — asked the hostessing moms in honest curiosity, “Uh … what was y’all’s color scheme, again?” (This was the event for which we exuberantly made lots of tissue-paper flowers. Lots of them. In whatever colors of tissue paper we could score on sale find to match the lovely Gail Pittman dishes one of us bravely offered up.) But it all came together and our enthusiastic abundance of various colors saved us tons of money simply underscored the joyous celebration. And the idea from our chief chef to serve scrambled eggs in martini glasses and let guests add toppings was genius. Genius! So much fun, and of course the scrambled eggs stayed toasty warm in the chafing dish as promised. Add to that fresh fruit, cheese, and a variety of breads along with the local must-have of delicate almond-flavored petit fours and we had a delicious and pretty menu. It was as much fun for us, the hostesses, as it was for everybody else — and that’s the best kind of party to have.  The mimosas helped, too.

Jana & Claire: Do Not Read This Post. Look Away! Thank You.

My house was blooming the other night when friends who are co-hosting a bridal shower for the daughter of another BFF came over to make tissue-paper flowers for the decor. These colorful blossoms have been popping up everywhere recently — I see them in store windows and displays. They’re even Martha-Stewart-approved, and she has a video tutorial on how to make them. But we tapped in to our many-decades-ago high-school memories of decorating homecoming floats and transforming gyms into dance floors and didn’t even need Martha’s help. You just layer sheets of tissue paper, pleat as if you’re making a fan, fold in half and scrunch up the center and secure with a pipe cleaner. Then, it’s on the fun part of separating the layers and shaking them out into a flower. We got better with each attempt and soon were experimenting with different colors and sizes. We’re not exactly sure what we’re going to do with them now, but they sure are impressive! This is easy enough for even awkward, uncoordinated and clumsy non-crafty folks like me to attempt and yet creative enough for talented crafters, like my friend on the left in the photo above, to be inspired. You see, after our flower-making marathon, she went home and stayed up until 2 a.m. making corsages out of fabric and netting, using the same tissue-paper principle. I, on the other hand,  drank more wine and went to bed.

P.S. I warned Jana & Claire, the mother of the bride-to-be and the bride-to-be herself, not to look at this post, but they probably did and now are hoping that my flowers somehow don’t make it to the shower in favor of the gorgeous ones everybody else created.  But I’m redeeming myself by bringing coffee and herb-cheese biscuits, so maybe that will help.